By Bose Adebayo
If you have visited the Ikeja General Hospital lately, you would have noticed a blocked drainage that could only have beenÂ a breeding place for mosquitoes. This is besidesÂ some discarded items at the back of Ayinke ward that left the hospital looking unkempt.
Thankfully this unhealthy eyesore has disappeared since a three-hour sanitation exercise was recently carried out there with the result that the hospital now wears a new look. And it was courtesy of the corporate effort of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which recently mobilised itsÂ teeming members for a state-wide environmental sanitation exercise.
Many people could not help but wonder aloud if it was another government-sanctioned environmental sanitation day when they saw this group of men and women armed with various cleaning items such as shovels, hoes, cutlasses, brooms, rakes, wheel barrows, polythene sacks and so on.
But it was a misconception that lasted only a moment as the church members were clad in yellow aprons with the inscription, â€œMormon Helping Handsâ€. They set to work around 7am, and by 10am had succeeded in clearing heaps of refuse littering the area and unblocking most of the drains.
The males among them were seen evacuating the blocked drainage and sand filling some failed sections of the hospital road while the females swept the hospital premises and also cleared the garbage at the back of Ayinke ward.
Vanguard Metro learnt the exercise also took place in places like Ifako Health Centre, General Hospital, Ogba, Ikoyi Prison, Agege General Hospital, Ajuwon Community Health Center, Ikorodu General Hospital, Surulere Local Government Premises, Onilegogoro Bus-stop, among others.
The exercise was said to be in commemoration of the Churchâ€™s annual community service programme: â€œAll Africa Service Projectâ€ which took place in all parts of Africa. It was also part of the Churchâ€™s contribution ridding their community off dirt.
A Ghanaian, Richard K. Ahadjie, said of the exercise: â€œI came for a leadership training meeting yesterday and I was supposed to leave for Accra this morning. I know the project is for all Africans and if I decided to leave this morning, I shall miss this project back home in Accra. So I decided to stay in Nigeria for the three hours exercise.Â This exercise has been able to portray Christâ€™s attitude on cleanlinessâ€.
Vanguard Metro also spoke with some children who were seen packing trash and transfering same to a designated spot.Â â€œThe exercise was a direct order form our prophet, Thomas Monson to come and keep our environment clean. We have been here since 7am and we live at Maryland. We like to help people who are not privileged to clean their environment; those who are on sick bed do not have opportunity to do so. The exercise has really taught us to help others,â€ chorused Nwaneri Nnamdi (14), Jenipher (12) and Tare (10).
A nursing officer in the hospital, CNO Fashola Mobolaji said the exercise was a big surprise to many staff in the hospital. â€œI am really impressed by todayâ€™s performance and it is something commendable. We do have organisations coming here for donations but seeing an organisation doing environmental sanitation like this is a big surprise.
I have been working in this hospital for the past 19 years and to the best of my knowledge, no organisation has embarked on this type of exercise. This is a voluntary work and one must be led to have such motive. People should not be forced to keep their environment clean,â€ she noted.
Chairman, National Public Affairs Council in Nigeria, Elder Alexander Odume told Vanguard Metro thus: â€œWe feel great for doing such a thing. Mormons means good; we are here to render service because we believe in service for humanity. This is our own contribution to assist our fellow human beings who need the service more. We have been able to fill some parts of the road with laterite; we have trash bags and we are partnering with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA who will come and evacuate the rubbish as soon as we are through with what we are doingâ€.
Continuing, he said: â€œUnit leaders of the Church have identified projects that would address the needs of the areas the church is located where members would render service. In some of the projects, we are partnering with organisations, other churches and leaders of other faiths to serve Nigerians.
LAWMA has always provided labour even as other partners provide other requisite materials depending on what the project is and the church is grateful to them.This service project holds every year on a designated date. In Nigeria, about 100,000 members from 270 parishes of the Church would join other non-members who have agreed to partner with us to render service to the community and Nigerians. We are going to keep the environment clean by sweeping the street, clearing the drains, painting and marking roads, cleaning markets and other public places, including hospitals, health centres, police stations, old peopleâ€™s home, motherless babies homes, among others,â€ he informed.
Cleric appeals to Fashola
The Founder/General Overseer of Oketude Ministry, Prophet (Dr.) Samson Saka has appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola to return the Ogudu land taken away from him after demolishing his ministryâ€™s auditorium to enable his ministry continue fostering unity among Christians and Moslems in the country.
On the other hand, the clergyman requested Governor Fashola to provide him with alternative plots of land for a new auditorium.
The Prophet who made this plea in Lagos recently while briefing newsman, lamented how his ministryâ€™s auditorium and 68 flats in Ogudu were demolished by the state government last year just six months after his 13 acres of land at Ifako near Ogudu was taken away from him by the government for public use.
Prophet Saka lamented that before government took over the Ifako land and demolished his 68 flats, which is the main source of the ministryâ€™s livelihood,Â Â he spent millions of naira to reclaim the two lands from swamp and wondered why the Lagos State Government whom he has been supporting right from Asiwaju Bola Tinubuâ€™s administration, should treat him that way, thus exposing him and his ministry to great suffering and inconvenience
Why we are on strike â€” NASU
LAGOS â€” STRIKING members of the Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) in the nationâ€™s universities,Â have said no amount intimidation or threat of â€˜no work, no payâ€™ can force them to abandon the struggle to make Nigerian universities regain their lost glory and once again start producing world class graduates.
General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi in a chat with Vanguard Metro, reiterated the unionâ€™s argument that the on-going strike by members in the universities was not all about emoluments, butÂ about the funding of the university system,Â failing and decaying infrastructure, among other things, that have brought the nationâ€™s university education to its lowest ebb.
Comrade Adeyemi who is also a Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), appealed to well-meaning Nigerians, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other concerned citizens to prevail on the Federal Government to develop the political will to address the rot in the nationâ€™s university system and the entire educational sector at large, stressing that the root cause of the decay in the system is lack of funding.
He wondered whyÂ government allowed a negotiating team it constituted,Â to go on for two years if it (government) knew it was not going to honour the agreement? According to him: â€œWe are surprised withÂ governmentâ€™sÂ U-turn, … this new type of industrial relations practice where government can unilaterally award salary increase.