By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- AN international rights organization, Global Rights Nigeria, Friday, called on the Lagos State Government to adequately compensate affected residents over the untold hardship caused by the outbreak of fire and fumes at the Olusosun dumpsite recently.
This was stated by the Country Director, Global Rights Nigeria, Abiodun Bayewu-Teru, while speaking on solutions that the Lagos State government should consider as it tackles the issue.
She said: “The Lagos State government has not been far reaching with management of toxic materials and refuse. The right of the people to a healthy environment has been infringed upon.
“As a mega city of the nature of Lagos should have a refuse disposal system that is cognizant with the health of its citizens and failure to do is not only a breach of governance duty but also fundamental breach of peoples’ rights, life and a healthy environment.
“The peoples’ complaint should draw the attention of the whole public should have come from the dumpsite at Olusosun they are likely to develop health complications and as the direct source of that health complication if government itself which should be in charge with the protection of the lives and property of citizens and the Lagos State government is failing in that regard.
“The people of Olusosun should be compensated and compensation should not be monetary, but where they are developing complications as a result of toxic fumes that they have being exposed to could be offered free medical aid in that regard and counseling as well.
“The government should provide a holistic solution to the problem and not just immediate reaction. They need to develop waste disposal system. They should look close to other mega cities around the world, found out how other countries are doing them. The refuse dump at Olusosun actually just burns refuse in the open and the smoke and fume spreading onto residents.”
According to her, in other countries it is in at an enclosed environment where refuse is burnt and the smoke, fume and toxic materials from the dumpsite don’t get to where people are. A city like New York City effectively disposes garbage without people dealing with the smoke when they are there, and queried “Why can’t Lagos do the same?”
She said: “Lagos should be at the fore-front of recycling. What are they doing with recyclable materials? Another fact is that biofuel that could be used for energy production could also come from these dumpsites that are being carelessly handled.”
She also expressed dissatisfaction over the proposed three years of relocating the dumpsite to Epe, where residents of the area were already complaining of the government’s decision, which they are negatively impacted by the pollution emanating from the existing dumpsite.
“Lagos State government does not need three years to achieve this. This is something they can achieve within three to six months if they put their minds in achieving it, so three years is a cut out for the next administration, which the really citizens of Lagos should not take lightly.
“It is not just only Lagos State but we need to urgently address what is going on in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with the soothe that have enveloped that city for almost a year now and having effect on citizens. So these actions the Federal Government and Lagos State, ours is to advice government on what is good enough for government”, she said.