By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode has commenced talk with over 400 PSP operators to work out modality of waste collection and disposal in a new deal aimed at restoring healthy environment as well as eliminate possible health hazards in the state.
Recall that Ambode had earlier appointed the former General Manager, Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, Dr. Ola Oresanya, as consultant to handle the new deal.
The move by the governor, followed earlier directive by the State House of Assembly for Private Sector Partnership, PSP, to resume collection and disposal of waste.
The Assembly had last Thursday, ordered the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, in the state to recall the PSP operators in their areas to go back to refuse collection with immediate effect.
Ambode had appointed Visionscape Sanitations Solution, a company contracted to manage waste in the state with billions of naira already invested in the creation, before the initiative was thwarted by the lawmakers who denied any knowledge of the company’s existence in the state, let alone operation.
Ambode-led government therefore came under massive attacks and criticisms over the ineffective operations of Visionscape, in the face of growing refuse across the state.
This followed an Urgent Matter of Public Importance raised by Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa Constituency 1l on heaps of refuse scattered all over the state.
According to Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, Lagos State Government does not know about Visionscape.
In his reaction then, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Visionscape, John Irvine, in a statement said: “We would like to believe that there is some misinterpretation of the statements being circulated, despite our continued efforts in meeting the performance matrices of our valid and subsisting contract.
“We will nonetheless continue to fulfill the terms of our service contract in the face of a sustained negative sponsored media campaign, as well as persistent and systematic sabotage of our efforts and our assets.
“We remain open to dialogue, levelling the competitive playing field and participating in a more inclusive process with all stakeholders in the environment.”
Sequel to this, Ambode had to seek Oresanya’s expertise, who left a very big mark that no one has been able to fill, as consultant to rescue residents from possible health risks.
Therefore, Ambode set up a joint Committee, headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello.
Bello, by the powers vested on him, ordered the operators to return to status quo by embarking on “door-to-door” evacuation of waste across the state with immediate effect.
Residents hail move
Mr. Joshua Amos, a resident in Ikeja, described the measure as “a welcome development”, saying, “with the PSP returning in Lagos, the ineffective waste management will no doubt be resolved.This is a big relief to us, the residents, as filth have taken over the state. We commend this courageous move by Governor Ambode.”
Also speaking, Mrs Abiola Ogunnaike, a business woman living in Lagos Island, commended the authorities for saving residents over rising refuse in the state.
She stated: “We have almost given up on any possible solution soon, we thought Governor Ambode had abandoned governance in Lagos after losing a second term bid ticket. Though, it was a mistake in the first instance to have sacked PSP operators for Visionscape. My kudos to members of the State House of Assembly and Governor Ambode for this bold step.The sad issue of heaps of refuse has finally come to an end in Lagos.”