By Oladipupo Awojobi
The Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state to call the Private Sector Partnership (PSP) operators in their areas back to work for refuse clearing immediately.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who gave this directive on Thursday on behalf of the lawmakers during plenary, also ordered the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni, to invite the Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, to appear before the House on the matter next week.
This followed a motion of Urgent Matter of Public Importance raised by Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa Constitueny 1) on heaps of refuse he said had taken over the state.
Speaker Obasa emphasised that the Lagos Assembly did not know about Visionscape.
Obasa stated that there were three arms of government comprising legislative, executive and judiciary, and that the state government ought to have consulted the House on Visionscape before the company started operation in the state.
“We insist that we don’t know anything about Visionscape because we were not consulted before they started work.
“We once wrote the Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Akinyemi Ashade, not to pay Visionscape again and he will return any money he paid to them after our instruction to the coffers of the state government. We will go to that when the time comes, but we have to do the needful now.
“We are calling on the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs in the state to have meetings with the PSP operators to go back to work and they should start paying them and make the residents to start paying the operators. We have to avoid epidemics and be proactive,” he said.
The Speaker also warned those preventing people from dumping refuse at the dumpsites to desist from doing so, adding that he saw many refuse trucks in a bad state and that some of them had been abandoned.
He insisted that the House ought to have approved the new refuse disposal policy of the state governnent before Visionscape started work.
“We are inviting the Commissioner for the Environment to come and report to us within one week. The Clerk should write all the local councils in the state to do the needful and the Commissioner for the Environment should work on this and report to us in a week,” he said.
He said: “Some refuse are taken to Epe and Ikorodu but it is a bit far now as 300 instead of 800 trucks now dispose refuse.
“We used to dump the refuse in Olusosun, but the place was gutted by fire. We can give the place to private companies.
“The sanitary land fill in Epe is not being utilised and the transfer loading stations too are not working effectively and the turn around time of packing the refuse is not being utilised.
“It is not all the PSP operators that are working. May be we can recall the PSP Operators and reopen Olusosun and the land fill sites should be operated properly.”
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, from Ikorodu Constituency 1 revealed that heaps of refuse were worse in his area. He said for the state to have good sanitation, a law on environmental sanitation was passed, but that it was not properly implemented.
“The refuse on the road and on the streets are hazardous to the people. Flies from the refuse perch on the food people are eating.
“One day, Olusosun would not be able to accommodate refuse any longer. It would be better if we can change our policy on refuse disposal,” he said.
Also speaking, Hon. Bisi Yusuff from Alimosho Constituency 1 revealed that eight people died in Igando, where refuse is dumped.
Yusuff stressed that Visionscape did not know the job, and that they did not even allow PSP operators to help the people.
“There are big rats on the roads now and they could even make a vehicle to tumble.
“We should look at it critically. They are not picking any refuse in the state. It is an important matter that should be handled urgently,” he said.
In his comment, Hon. Abiodun Tobun from Epe Constitueny 1 stated that Lagos State had become dirty and only God could help the state.
He said Epe was not benefitting from the system and that their water had been contaminated while all their roads were now bad.
“There is no industrial estate in Epe, but they have in other places. They cannot bring refuse dump to Epe, they can relocate it if that is what we are benefiting. We want better things in Epe such as industries and other things,” he said.