Waste managers protest against new sanitation policy in Lagos
The Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAN) yesterday pleaded with the Lagos State House of Assembly to protest against the proposed Cleaner Lagos Initiative. The initiative will replace the state monthly sanitation exercise.
The new sanitation policy is part of the 251-section Environmental Management and Protection Bill, 2017 before the House of Assembly. The executive bill is entitled: “Bill for Law to Provide for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State and for other Connected Purposes’’.
A public hearing on the bill is ongoing. The protesting waste managers claimed that about 2,500 people might lose their means of livelihood if the new sanitation policy scales through the House.
They carried placards with inscription such as “Lagos Ministry of the Environment wants to cede our services to foreign firms’’, “Monopoly! Wetin we fit do self”, and “Inequitable! 80 per cent to Oyinbo, 20 per cent to Lagosians not acceptable”.
Mr. Taju Ekemode, spokesman for the over 200 protesters told newsmen that the new government policy, which ceded evacuation of 80 per cent of wastes in Lagos to foreign investors, would destroy their investments.
Ekemode, the Vice Chairman of AWAN, said: “We are here today to let the lawmakers know our feelings, what we suffer and what we may suffer with the Cleaner Lagos Initiative of the current executive. We have been doing this job for years, and there have been no problems. The government’s plan to organise foreign firms to come and clean Lagos is absurd; we cannot agree to that.
“We are not against reform in any way, but the policy directing us to leave the streets, to allow foreign firms to take over will kill businesses. Where do we put those trucks? We can’t use them to carry sand. Those trucks cannot be used for any other things apart from wastes. What do we do with our investments? What do we do to the loans we got from banks?’’ he asked.
He noted that the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, directed that PSP should be cleaning commercial places. “But the percentage of commercial centres in Lagos is just about 20 compared to what is being ceded to foreign investors.”
He added that many Lagos residents owed PSP operators much debts, and that areas allocated to them would be inadequate for the about 350 operators.
The state government had said that the initiative became imperative due to challenges inherent in the environmental laws of the state.