Lagos clamps down on environmental saboteurs

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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The Lagos state government says it will continue to resist any act that can jeopardize the smooth process of enjoying a cleaner and safer environment.

This comes following the arrest of more officials of a Private Sector Participant (PSP) operator in waste management who were alleged to have dumped waste on the streets.

The suspects were arrested by security operatives while using their compactor to dump refuse on the street.

The latest arrest brought the number of PSP operators arrested for similar offense in the last one week to five, while hundreds of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators had equally been arrested for dumping waste in public places and canals.

CLI versus PSP
The State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the arrest was a clear confirmation of the suspicion of government that the new environmental waste management policy encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) was being sabotaged by vested interests.

“A PSP operator was caught along Lagos Island Central Business District discharging refuse on the street.

“He was arrested by security operatives in the middle of the night, which shows the institutional corruption that has been lingering in the sector which the State Government intends to fight with the reforms put in place.

“The arrest of the PSP operator is a clear example of the deliberate efforts to sabotage what the State Government is doing. The PSP operators are not being driven out of their businesses with the reforms as they are making the public to believe,” the Commissioner said.

PSP operations
On the insinuations that government has discarded the PSP operations, Bamigbetan said “Under CLI, the government has made provision for the PSP operators to handle collection of commercial waste and there are over 15,000 companies in Lagos that can serve the over 200 PSP operators in the State. So far, the CLI has been able to get over 50,000 new employees out of the labour market.

 “The government has also stressed itself by getting N2.5billion loan to enable the PSP operators buy equipment to be more competitive. These are the things they can key into than blackmailing government. The whole idea is to build local capacity in order to employ more of our unemployed youth”.

 He explained that the recently arrested PSP operators had been charged to court with the case adjourned to February 26, while the latest suspect would be paraded during the week by the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps and subsequently charged to court.

Bamigbetan noted that it was unfortunate that some PSP operators were allowing vested interests to use them to blackmail government into abandoning the reforms designed to revolutionize waste management in the State.

Note of warning
“Any PSP operator henceforth caught will be dealt with using the full weight of the law. No government will fold its arms and allow few vested interests whose interests are inimical to the majority of the people and aimed at sabotaging government’s policies and programmes to have a field day,”
the commissioner affirmed

He however urged residents to exercise more patience as the current challenges with waste disposal would soon be over.

The Commissioner also advised the PSP operators to support government by embracing the new initiative.

Another suspects
Meanwhile, the State Government paraded four cart pushers who were arrested for dumping refuse in unauthorised spots.

Lagos state Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti said the suspects would be charged to court.

The Commissioner also restated government resolve to address the waste management issue and appealed to the residents to desist from patronising illegal waste managers.

He added that commercial operations of the Clean Lagos Initiative would commence fully from March 1.

Confidence Okwuchi