By Ola Ajayi
SO many laws, orders and directives have always been made by successive governments in the Pacesetter state. Starting from the tenure of the late Chief Bola Ige, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, the late Kolapo Ishola, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and then to the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, all had tried to keep roadside traders away from major roads to prevent accidents which sometimes record heavy casualties.
But, as much as they tried, people always have a way of circumventing those laws which, if carefully considered, are for their benefit.
About four weeks ago, the Oyo State Government gave two weeks ultimatum to churches, mosques and other organisations or establishments with external loud speakers to remove them or face prosecution. Vanguard, however, observed that most worship centres in the metropolitan city are yet to comply with government’s directive. In some parts of Ibadanland like Mokola, Agbaje, Ijokodo, Sabo, Eleyele, Owalla, Abebi, Oniyanrin, Ring Road and several other places, religious centres have been flouting the directive with impunity.
Apart from some churches that were sealed up for breach of the environmental laws, and about 372 people already prosecuted over environmental related offences, the government seems to have relaxed concerning the directive. While giving the directive some weeks ago, the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Isaac Ishola, who was flanked on the high table by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Toye Arulogun and many other principal officers of the ministry, emphasized that no fewer than three churches have been closed down in Ibadan alone in the last two weeks as a result of noise pollution.
The commissioner noted that “we from the government have met with the relevant leaderships of concerned establishments including churches, mosques, industries and so on and warned them by giving them guidelines, telling them that any defaulter would be prosecuted. Oyo State Government under the leadership of Senator Abiola Ajimobi believes that nobody or establishment should hide under any excuse whatsoever to disturb the peace and sleep of the residents of the state.”
On the closure of Temidire Plank Market by the government, Mr. Ishola stated that “Senator Abiola Ajimobi directed that the market be closed down due to environmental pollution in the area. To start with, sawmills are always sited at the outskirts of the town but due to developments which had spread to the area, we resettled them at Egbeda Local Government but majority of them refused to go.
“Also, the sawmill is very close to the popular Bola Ige Market and there is no single drainage. So, the area is always affected whenever it rains. Apart from this, smoke emanating from sawdust also pollutes the environment whenever they burn it.”
On waste management, the Oyo State Environment and Water Commissioner said: ”We have been spending N56 million to evacuate waste, but, we are now focusing on how to generate wealth from waste and we are doing it on public-private partnership, PPP, arrangement.”
He said that the law banning street trading is still in force and that “we have prosecuted about 372 people and the government is ready to arrest and prosecute anybody caught in the act.”
Hawkers back to the roadsides: Although the state government had tried to force traders to leave the roadsides, but the stubborn traders are back to the roadsides. In most markets like Eleyele, Agbeni, Oritamerin and Sango, it has been business as usual. At Iwo Road, even though government had brought sanity to the once notorious place, many traders have been selling their wares on the road. In these places, traders and vehicles at times, would be competing for the roads, especially in the evenings.
Also culpable are commercial motorcyclists popularly known as okada riders. The government, when inundated with reports of accidents, had banned them from plying trunk A roads, but they have since disregarded the order and accidents claim casualties almost on daily basis.