It was a long awaited move. On Saturday, January 13, the Lagos State Government announced a total ban on the operations of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators in the State, as it simultaneously began full implementation of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI).

To justify the ban, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, in a statement, said investigations had revealed that the cart pushers hindered environmental cleanliness and were responsible for most of the illegal dumping of waste in canals and road medians at night which caused flooding, adding that they were also traces of security threats.

Since sanctions were applicable to anyone who patronised the cart-pushers, most residents backed off and waste dumps and refuse heaps soon sprouted up all over the metropolis; a situation which posed environmental hazard and generated considerable alarm among millions of residents.

Even though the state government, through the CLI, quickly swung into action to clear the accumulated waste, the rate of clearance has not outstripped the rate of waste generation, especially in gated communities and areas where waste cannot be collected at night. Daytime activities have also not helped the traffic situation in some areas, but the process is ongoing on a twenty-four-hour basis.

Although change for the better can sometimes be painful like this waste collection scenario, in the long run, the state government has promised to make Lagos one of the cleanest cities in the world. However, a thought must also be spared for the thousands of unemployed cart-pusher youths who are now out of jobs with no visible income. There are fears that the banned operators may revert to the criminal acts they are being accused of. Lagos doesn’t need an upsurge in crime at this time…worrying thought

– Abimbola Akosile