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Lagos government activates sanitation intervention programme


Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has said the flooding being experienced in a section of the state had challenged his administration to reinvigorate its campaign against dumping of refuse and enforcement of physical planning laws as they relate to illegal structures on drainages.

The Lagos State Government has activated a sanitation intervention programme to address the challenge of refuse littering some parts of the state during the transition to the new solid waste management system.

The sanitation intervention programme, which became necessary to ensure that no stone was left unturned in the effort to achieve a cleaner environment in the state, has afforded the state government the opportunity to evacuate refuse from the all nooks and corners of the state.

The intervention, which began in the third week of June 2017, has taken place in all council areas and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state.

Consequently, refuse dumped in Ojuwoye, Mushin, Eti-Osa, Agege, Alimosho, Ojo, Ikeja, Badagry, Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and other places have been evacuated to restore clean and healthy environment in those areas.

The programme is a fall out of a transition in the management of solid waste in the state.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration had initiated a reform in the sector with the introduction of a holistic, sustainable and efficient system, tagged the Cleaner Lagos Initiative to replace the old system.

As in every transition, the refuse heaps in some parts of the state is one of the challenges of the transition to the new system of solid waste management, which will soon be a thing of the past as the initiative takes effect in a few weeks.

The new order promises not only to enhance the aesthetics of the state but also deepen the Lagos State economy by evolving a new viable sub-sector of the economy and alleviating poverty.

As the ultimate beneficiaries of the new system, Lagosians have been urged to cooperate with the government and stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places and guard their environment.

To ensure the success of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, the state government has divided the state into five zones for effective all year round drainage cleaning and clearing.

Commissioner for the Environment, Babatunde Adejare said that the zones would follow the five divisions of Lagos, which are: Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos, and Epe.

The essence of the division into zones/units, he explained, was to give room for efficient flood management, clearing of all blocked drainages and channels.

“Government is determined in its pursuit of clean, sustainable and livable environment as this holds the key to the wellbeing of the people.

“The Cleaner Lagos Initiative, has as one of its components, all year round maintenance of secondary and tertiary drains, as well as removal of refuse, vegetal growth and silt from drains to allow for free flow of storm water,” he said.

He stressed the state government’s zero tolerance for environmental abuse, especially indiscriminate dumping of refuse, drainage blockage, construction on waterways and drainage alignments, among others.

“Lagosians must however, desist from dumping refuse in drainage channels and stop compromising drainage alignment, such as building and erection of structures on drainage setbacks. The essence is to allow easy passage of rainstorm, which is the ultimate goal of clearing and cleaning the drainage channels,” he stated.

Adejare noted that as part of his flood-free advocacy, he visited the Naval Dockyard, Ikota Resettlement Area, Lekki, County Homes and Apese Community to examine the situation after last week’s flooding.

He said he monitored the efficiency of the Naval Dockyard Outfall serving, Oju-Olobu, Akarigbere, NEPA, NTA and other parts of Victoria Island at the Naval Dockyard.

He disclosed that part of the advocacy led to a stakeholders’ meeting with residents of Apese, Lekki County Homes and Ikota Resettlement communities, where he appealed to them to co-operate with the government in its continuous deflooding programme.

He added that this was the only way to prevent loss of lives and property and sustain a healthy environment and advised Lagosians to embrace the new initiative as it has enormous benefits, some of which include the creation of 40,000 jobs, provision of 600 brand new compactors and 900,000 electronically tracked waste bins.

Others are transfer loading stations, material recovery facilities and engineered sanitary landfills, as well as mechanised and manual street sweeping in addition to effective and efficient drainage maintenance measures.

‘Jos East Council Residents Cut Off By Flood’
From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos

With the torrent rainfall this year, communities in Plateau State continue to experience flooding, which has rendered some residents homeless.

A resident of Riyom local council, Dung Jang said flood has rendered many people homeless, adding that the volume of the water that descends from the hill was too much.

He said the affected people would be happy if the state government can assist them adding that many communities took a day or two to clear their drainages as a result of the floods.

Another resident, Jerry Davou, said his house was also affected by flood on July 11, which wrecked havoc on Angware-Fobur-Federe road of Jos East local council. It cut the residents off from Jos and Jos East council headquarters.

They lamented the situation, stressing that life and socio-economic activities have been hampered while students could not go to school.

Due to the ugly development, the member representing Jos East constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Joshua Madaki, moved a motion of urgent public importance on the floor of the house, where he urged the members to support the motion for government’s quick intervention.

Meanwhile, the state government has started sensitising residents of the flood-prone areas to relocate to other places for safety.

Consequently, residents of Congo Russia, Rikkos, Dilimi, Angwan Rogo, Ali Kasaure, and others have been asked to relocate to safer places.

Also, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has warned the residents to be conscious and alert to their environment.

Director of the Plateau State Environment Management Agency (SEMA), Alhassan Barde, had cautioned residents to vacate riverbanks and other areas that are prone to flood.

The state government and the other relevant agencies are creating awareness on the danger posed by flood, urging the residents to clean up their environment, especially gutters and drainages to make for free flow of water.

It also asked those on the river sides to relocate to safer areas.

Ekiti Residents, Government Trade Blame
From Ayodele Afolabi, Ado-Ekiti

Ekiti State has witnessed its fair share of flooding in recent times due to unrelenting rainfall in the last two months.

Although three deaths have been recorded so far to flooding, unofficial reports said that some people lost their homes and property worth several millions to the flood.

The last time Ekiti recorded flooding of the current magnitude was in 2012. Given the tragic effect of that flood experience, one should have expected the people and the government to be more proactive.

Activities of most residents of the state pointed to the fact that no lessons were learnt from the 2012 disaster, as people still dump refuse indiscriminately on waterways, channels and drainages.

Only recently, a 33-year old commercial motorcyclist identified as Ajeniyi Victor, met his untimely death, when he crossed a bridge on Elemi River at Ayemi, along Iworoko road in Ado-Ekiti.

An eyewitness confirmed that the deceased was swept away by flood along with his motorbike, while trying to cross the bridge. The other two incidences occurred at Olorunda and Ilawe Road also in Ado-Ekiti, where flood swept them away while returning from work.

Speaking on the issue, a resident of the flood-prone areas, Idowu Ariwodola blamed people’s carelessness for the flood, insisting that people were fond of dumping refuse on waterways and in drainages.

“Whenever it rains, go round the city and see how women and children dump refuse in the drainages without anyone putting them in check. When this is done, the result is flooding. Some are in the habit of building houses in places that obstruct free flow of water, whereas water must find its level. People must stop this habit. They must be reasonable. Here, people don’t obey basic laws.

On the part of government, Ariwodola argued that the state government had not done enough to tackle the menace, saying they ought to have done proper education, mobilisation of citizens and planning to be proactive in nipping flooding in the bud.

He, therefore, urged the state government to enact a law to establish the sanitation inspectors who would sanction those who dump refuse in waterways and drainages.

Speaking, Raphael Adeyanju, a resident of Ilawe Road, Ado-Ekiti, blamed the government, which he said had not done enough, as it had not built enough drainages and channeled waterways properly.

“We are very careless as a people. We allow nature to overwhelm us. The available channels and drainages are not properly managed because they are often blocked with refuse. The government believes in fire brigade approach. It is when tragedy occurs that government begins to run helter- skelter,” he said.

He added that, “the people also share in the blame, because of their carefree attitude of dumping refuse indiscriminately. The areas mostly affected are the major cities, especially Ado-Ekiti,” he said.

According to Adeyanju, there is no proper urban planning in Ado Ekti as an emerging mega city. It is a blend of the old and new settlements. The activities of urban managers who approved plots of land that obstruct free flow of the waterways also contributed to the floods.”

Other residents who spoke on the matter, said government needed to do more in the area of the channeling of waterways, most of which they claimed has been blocked. The government, they said, should pay attention to Atikankan, Olorunda, Olorunsogo, Adebayo and Odo Ado areas.

However, the state government has blamed the residents for the floods in parts of the state. It said although the metrological department has warned that there would be flood this year, the residents were responsible for 60 per cent of the floods in Ekiti.

Commissioner of the Environment, Bisi Kolawole said the problem should be blamed on the people’s attitude.

His words: “They still dump refuse in water channels and when they do that, the water get stuck and spill into the road or into houses. 
Then the people begin to wail and cry to the government for help.

“Our people are over 60 per cent responsible for the floods we are experiencing apart from the natural one.

“However, I want assure you that government is not relenting in making sure that we tackle the flood,” he added.

Rains, Bad Roads, Equipment, Payment Hinder Service Delivery, Say Operators
Shakirah Adunola, Kemi Sokoya and Maria Diamond

Private Sector Participants (PSPs) in waste management and disposal have said they are aware that they should regularly dispose of waste in all parts of Lagos but their trucks were unable to clear refuse due to the fact that the dumping sites were not accessible during the rainy season.

Secretary of Faith and Blessing Limited, a franchise refuse disposal company in Idimu Lagos, Nofisat Abiola, told The Guardian that waste disposal was a huge challenge during the wet season.

“We experience difficulties at the dumping sites during the rainy season, which is a major challenge for refuse disposal operators.

“The dumping ground along Igando Road that is mostly patronised by all refuse disposal franchise on that axis is not accessible because the caterpillar that pushes the refuse inside the pit developed fault.

“It is not working for now. There is no how trucks can go inside the dumping site. Trucks need to wait at the dumping ground until they repair it. That is when we can dispose waste,” she said.

She said another major problem was the failure of people to pay their monthly refuse bill, adding that: “For now, we have decided not to pack waste of those who are owing our company.

“You can’t imagine that we have more than N1 million outside. Some people just decided not to pay their monthly charges of N750 per flat, N200 for a room and N200 for shop.

“A particular building at Imala Crescent owes us N238, 000 and they refuse to pay despite threats that we will lock their building. I don’t think we can cope with such attitude. We cannot continue to be packing their debris, while they fail to pay their bill.

“Most of those owing PSPs are the one littering the roads and street with debris. Some are even in the habit of dumping their refuse with that of their neighbours, just so that they don’t pay us. At a time we decided to lock their homes and shops, but they broke them and threatened us. For now we are not packing any house that fails to pay their monthly refuse bill.”

Also speaking to The Guardian a resident at Akogun Street in Olodi-Apapa, Balogun Lawal, explained how he disposes his waste.

“PSPs are inefficient in this area. They don’t come regularly and even when they do, they always end up littering the streets with particles of waste from their bad trucks. So, I prefer to patronise the cart pushers within this area.

A truck pusher in the area, Ibrahim Musa, said: “I normally go out in the morning from house to house to pick up waste and charge them as they drop their wastes in my cart and once it gets filled up, I push the wastes to Maza Maza in Kirikiri road to dispose it at N200.”

A resident of Abayomi Adetola Street, Ipaja Ayobo, who introduced himself as Joshua Nze, said: “The problem is that LAWMA refuse disposal trucks do not come to this area. They turn back mid-way because of the bad road. So sometimes, I dispose my refuse in the drainage when it is raining or I burn it”.

He said he had no choice than to dispose his refuse through any available means possible.

“I use to take dump my refuse at the roadside for LAWMA to pick up, but there have been warnings that we should not dump waste there again as culprits would be arrested and made to pay huge fine,” he said.

When asked what should be done to stop residents from indiscriminate dumping of waste, Joshua said: “Refuse disposal firms should put a big refuse bin at the bus stop so that those of us who live on the sloppy side of Ayobo, where their trucks cannot reach, would put our refuse in it instead of dumping them by the roadside or in the drainage.”

Lagosians, LAWMA Trade Blames On Flooding, Urge Govt To Take Action
By Tobi Awodipe

These are certainly not the best of times for most residents of Lagos, as several areas of the city have experienced severe flooding following the heavy downpours in the last couple of weeks.

While the residents have blamed the state government and the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) Private Sector Participant (PSP) for the flood, some government and LAWMA officials say residents were responsible for the floods.

Lagos residents have accused the PSP of inefficiency and gross irresponsibility. The PSP is responsible for clearing refuse in the state but people say they have abandoned their primary duty, forcing them to dump refuse on street corners, which can remain there for weeks.

Sadly, whenever it rain, some of the refuse fall into the drainages and canals, thereby causing blockage.

Other allegations against the service providers include increase in levies, in spite of their inefficiency and threat of sealing the houses of defaulters in payment.

A resident of Ademulegun Street, Ire-Akari Estate, Isolo, Bose Animashaun, said: “The PSP operators have refused to pick our refuse for several weeks now and we don’t know why. When you look round, you see refuse everywhere and the refuse have started filling up the gutters.

“If rain falls, where will the refuse go? We pay our PSP bills regularly and we don’t deserve to be treated like this. Even when we call them, they will say they are coming, but we are yet to see them.

“I really don’t know why they are being so irresponsible. The Lagos State government should call them to order as quickly as possible before there is an outbreak of disease or major flooding,” she said.

It was the same story when The Guardian visited Tom Jones Street in Lagos Island. Refuse littered the street from the beginning to the end. The refuse heaps were so many to the extent that the street has been reduced to a one-lane road with refuse taking up the better part of the second lane.

According to a market official, the refuse collectors were supposed to collect wastes daily, because of the volume of refuse being generated, but they had not shown up for over a week.

“This is a health hazard and everywhere is smelling. We are calling on them to do their work effectively and save us from the spread of diseases.”

Cole bus stop, Lawanson in Surulere is now in a terrible state. Refuse is usually dumped at the bus stop, which can remain there for several weeks.

A trader at the bus stop, Sunday Eze lamented that he was fed up with the situation, saying, “The continuous dumping of refuse has blocked the gutters completely and flood has destroyed the main road. The road is now very bad with water covering it, which becomes worse anytime rain falls.

“People dump refuse here because according to them, the adjoining streets are too narrow and the PSP trucks cannot enter.

“The smell affects us here but if the trucks are coming to pack the waste regularly, it wouldn’t be so bad but they would leave it for weeks. All the gutters are blocked with refuse and whenever it rains, the water affects our shops.”

According to him, the last time the operators came, they said only a few people pay their bills, but everyone wants to get rid of their refuse and this doesn’t encourage them to come regularly.

Also, a resident of Church Street, Ilasa, Precious Akinlade, blamed the PSP operators for the flood experienced in the area a few weeks ago.

She said if they evacuate the refuse weekly as they were supposed to, people would not be tempted to dump refuse in the gutters and canals.

“I blame the operators, they are the ones making us to dump refuse in the gutters. They don’t show up for weeks, sometimes months, what do you want us to do?”

When confronted with the fact that many residents don’t pay for refuse collection, but expect their refuse to be evacuated, she said it was their business to pursue their money and not her concern.

A LAWMA official lamented that most residents do not pay their refuse bills, a development that was hampering proper waste management.

“Most of these people complaining that we are responsible for wastes being dumped in the gutters that is causing flooding are confused.

“How do they want us to clear their refuse when they refused to pay their bills? This is a business and like any business, we have overheads and need to make a profit as well.”

Buildings Without Approval, Indiscriminate Allocation Of Open Plots Cause Flooding In Enugu
From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)

It is almost inconceivable that Enugu State could be rated among flood-prone states in the country until last year’s rainy season.

But the population explosion that came with distortion of the coal city’s master plan and climate change, among others may have opened the state to flooding.

And like hurricane, when the flood came last year, it came in high volume and swept through many homes and public places within the city and some rural communities.

Consequently, parts of Independence layout, Abakpa and Ogui axis were susceptible to the flood.

In fact, for the first time since it was constructed several years ago, the Ebeano tunnel crossing was threatened following massive flooding in the area.

For the tunnel, built under the rail tracks, one side of the road was completely submerged as the water that came together refused to recede several days after the heavy downpour.

Also submerged were the Ebeano Police Station and the high rising buildings in the area.

The situation was the same at the Spring of Life International School on Bisalla Road, where the students have to be evacuated after it was discovered that parts of the premises had caved in after the flood.

The state government had in response to the threats asked residents occupying the areas to vacate and took other measures that include providing passage for flood and demolition.

It was gathered that the improper location of buildings, especially along water channel, building without approval and indiscriminate allocation of open places as residential and business premises are responsible for the flooding in Enugu State.

Commissioner of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ENCTDA), Chidi Aroh, who last year conducted journalists round over sixty flood-prone areas in the state, lamented the rate at which residents distort the master plan of the city, saying it was a threat to the city.

Aroh wondered how people would build along water paths or set up businesses along water channels, stressing that there was no way such could guarantee easy flow when there was heavy rainfall.

He said that government would demolish the affected structures to pave way for free flow of water during the rains.

Also, Commissioner for Works, Patrick Ikpenwa, told journalists last week that several structures built around the Ebeano tunnel, constituted a barrier to the flow of water, stressing that they were built out of specification.

He said that with the situation of the place, it would be difficult for anybody to go and relax in them, adding that the area is a water belt axis.

Responding to the threat of flood in the state, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, directed the Ministry of Environment and Capital Territory to begin the demolishing structures and shops that stood on the right of way along major roads in the state.

He said the exercise would be extended to structures that were built on waterways in due course so as to restore the Enugu master plan and ensure that the menace of floods reduces anytime it rains.

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