By Vincent Obia
Normalcy is gradually returning to Lagos streets following an agreement on Thursday by refuse collection agencies in the state to work together to tackle the waste problem. The resolution was reached at a meeting by officials of the Lagos State Government, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, and Waste Collection Operators (WCOs), also known as Private Sector Participant (PSP) Operators.
Lagos residents had witnessed a rising tide of rotting refuse in their neighbourhoods in the wake of misunderstandings over the implementation of the stateâ€™s new waste management policy, called the Cleaner Lagos Initiative. But the situation began to ease since Thursday, when the stakeholders shelved their differences to unite around a common objective of ridding the state of waste. It was agreed at the meeting that a cohesive process should be put in place on how Visionscape and the PSPs will partner on the door-to-door collection of waste from March 1.
The meeting also agreed to set up a committee, comprising all the stakeholders, to ensure seamless operation of the waste management project.
Community leaders and market leaders had also embraced the Cleaner Lagos Initiative at a meeting on Wednesday with the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, at City Hall, Lagos Island.
Speaking at Thursdayâ€™s meeting, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, said, â€œGovernment, more than ever, believes in this partnership and that is why it has not only provided a facility of up to N2.5 billion with state government guarantee, which PSP operators could access to upscale their operations, but has also opened another channel through the Employment Trust Fund for loan facilities at reasonable interest of not more than 12 per cent per annum.â€
In his own remarks, Visionscapeâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, John Irvine, applauded the understanding between his company and the WCOs. Irvine stated that the challenges being experienced in domestic waste management in Lagos State were part of the teething problems associated with the first cycle of the companyâ€™s operation.
He said, â€œIt is not unusual to face this kind of problems especially in the first cycle of operations. It takes some time to build the superstructures and to ameliorate the present hiccups; we are buying locally and taking steps to have waste container bins manufactured locally.â€
Speaking on behalf of the WCOs, Kasumu Olasehinde restated their commitment to the success of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative and pledged to roll out more trucks in the effort to rid Lagos of wastes.
Olasehinde said, â€œTo show our total commitment to a cleaner, healthier and safer Lagos, we have not only resolved to work with the government of Lagos State and the domestic waste operators as partners, we have also resolved to commence free operations every Thursdays to mop up black spots in our respective areas.â€
Progressive Ultimate Caucus Club Celebrates at 5
Progressive Ultimate Caucus Club (PUCC) of Nigeria celebrates her 5th anniversary with three events in a day, which included an inspiring lecture, a gift to the people from Festus Fajemilo Foundation, a home with people suffering from Spina Bifida, coupled with inspirational talks from the young Shomolu Boys of yesterday, who are now above 50 and are all out to make societal changes.
Progressive Ultimate Caucus Club of Nigeria (PUCC) recently celebrated its 5th anniversary in Lagos. The highlight of the event was presentation of gift to Festus Fajemilo Foundation, a home catering to sufferers of Spina Bifida, a birth defect called neural tube defect which has no cure. The club donated an undisclosed amount to support the noble cause of the foundation. The founder, Mr. Festus fajemilo thanked the club for its kind gesture. Presenting some members of the home, who grace the event, he explained that the sufferers have challenges varying from mobility, passing out of feaces and urine. â€œThe Foundation, he said has been creating awareness against stigmatisation of these people and working with various NGOs, government agencies and corporate bodies for support.â€
Painting a grim picture of those living with the condition, he said all of them have to undergo surgery â€œand we have to take care of the post-surgery.
We have kits for those with feaces and urine challenges so they can be accepted in school while apparatus are provided for those with mobility challenge.
People suffering from Spina Bifida are burdens to their parents and guardians hence the Foundation comes to their aid.â€ President of the Club, Commandant Ebenezer Adebisi, the Zonal Commanding Officer, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) in Ogun and Lagos state, in his goodwill message, pledged that the club would do more in future to advance the work of the Foundation.
The club, Adebisi said was formed by people of like minds, who grew up together at Pedro in Shomolu, Lagos.
Being mainly children of the less privileged in the society, they dreamt of making it to the top and thus named the Club, Progressive Ultimate Caucus Club to give fillip to their dream.
â€œRight now, the club is made up of people who have made their mark in both the public and private sectors of the economy,â€ explained the President in elation.
Their projection is to bring up the upcoming ones, to impart their lives positively by empowering and assisting them with their education and taking care of the physical challenged.
According to Barrister Olufemi Dafosta Osinowo, the Public Relations officer of the club, they follow up some of the donations to make sure they are judiciously used as they have extended their frontiers and relationships to different groups. He admonished the youths to believe in what they are doing and set their eyes on the ball.
Professor Abiola Sanni, who delivered the anniversary lecture, spoke on the relevance of social clubs in developing good human relations. He said social clubs should get more involved in the welfare and general wellbeing of people within their communities and advance the cause of the less privileged in the society.
â€œMembers should see themselves as people who have come together for philanthropist purposes,â€ he advised. Stating some of the benefits of social clubs, Sanni said man being a social animal needs to relax and socialise and that, as members, come together to encourage and draw inspiration from one another.
The closing and opening prayers of the day was by Barrister Wale Ogunade.