By Fadekemi Ajakaiye
Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, has cautioned the Private Sector Participants (PSP) operators in waste management to desist from allowing themselves to be used to sabotage the new environmental policy of the Lagos State Government encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI).
Oba Akiolu stated these at a Town Hall meeting held recently at the City Hall, Lagos Island.
The essence of the Town Hall meeting was to sensitise market women and others on the Cleaner Lagos Initiative project and the need to ensure a cleaner environment.
Oba Akiolu warned residents of the state against dumping refuse in public places. Lagosians should ensure that the state was not littered with refuse, warning that he would not beg for anybody who is arrested by the state government for dumping refuse in unauthorised places.
He stated that Cleaner Lagos Initiative is for the benefit of all and called for support for Visionscape in a bid to rid Lagos state of refuse.
Oba Akiolu stated that he learnt that 13 people had been arrested for dumping refuse in unauthorised places, adding that Lagosians should desist from such act. He encouraged them to bag their waste and put them in appropriate places where Visionscape would cart them away.
The State government had put in place mechanism to deal with waste in Lagos and that this kind of sensitization programme would also be carried out in other parts of the state, the Oba said.
He further urged Lagosians to desist from patronising cart pushers as some of them hide arms in their carts to wreak havoc, as well as dump such refuse in inappropriate places.
“I was in security service for thirty-two years, most of these miscreants, armed robbers hide their guns, ammunition under these carts used for carting away refuse but with the initiative of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, things are going to be betterâ€ he said.
We are going to have a cleaner Lagos provided we have 100 percent citizenry cooperation, which is very necessary and why I had to come out today to address all, he said.
All the market women have to cooperate with the CLI. I have told them to stop living in the markets. It is only mad people that live in the markets. That is not in our culture,â€ he said.
The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Babatunde Durosimi-Etti stated that CLI came to further clean Lagos and being a consortium, it is large enough to manage waste.
He said the PSP operators could not cope with the huge refuse being generated in Lagos currently as the population kept growing, and they did not have the equipment to cope, especially with the rise in foreign exchange and this was what informed the Ambode administration to get a new consortium, Visionscape to handle it.
PSP is still around to manage commercial waste, while Visionscape is for household and market waste, he said
He warned residents to stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorized places, saying that perpetrators would face the full wrath of the law, including engaging communal service as a form of deterrence.
He reassured that the new solid waste management system was well thought out and positioned to offer an enduring solution to the waste management challenge thrown up by population increase and facility deficit that the State has had to encounter overtime.
Durosimi-Etti appealed to Lagosians to bag their waste properly so that refuse would not litter the streets, urging them to report people seen dumping refuse in unauthorised places to government for prompt action.
The Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Folasade Tinubu-Ojo said Lagos had always been a role model to other states of the country, charging the market women to contribute their quota to make Lagos cleaner and better than it was before.
She enjoined Visionscape to supply the market women with thicker bags for market waste to aid proper disposal as well waste trucks stationed in certain parts of the market for collection of wastes.
She assured that the market women would cooperate with Visionscape to make Lagos cleaner and embrace the Cleaner Lagos Initiate.
The Chairman, Lagos Island Local Government, Prince Adetoyosi Olusi also appealed to people on the Island to embrace the culture of bagging their waste and dumping them in designated places where Visionscape would cart them away, called for the ban of scavengers across the state as their activities normally lead to littering the environment.