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Environmental challenges: Lagos residents demand return of monthly sanitation

As council moves to enforce by-law

Residents blamed for degradation of environment

By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Monsuru Olowoopejo

Residents in the state have urged Lagos State Government to re-introduce the monthly environmental sanitation exercise to engender a sustainable cleaner environment as well as tackle threatening environmental issues.

Lagos, environmental sanitation
Traders clearing drains and markets during the weekly environmental sanitation exercise in Benin City, Edo State, on Saturday, April 14, 2018

Recall that the exercise was cancelled by last administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos in the wake a legal tussle.

Also, recently, the state Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, had announced possible reintroduction of the environmental sanitation exercise when the leadership of market leaders paid him a courtesy visit at Alausa, Ikeja.

The State Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, lawmaker, representing Ifako-Ijaiye I, in the state House of Assembly, Adewale Adedeji and council Chairman of Ifako Ijaiye, LGA, Oloruntoba Oke, have warned members of the community in the habit of indiscriminate refuse dump in drainages and canals to desist, saying any one caught would be arrested and prosecuted under the environmental by-law in a customary court.

Speaking at Lagos Island, Eshilokun,-Sanni blamed traders for the environmental challenges confronting the state.

He said: “The government is working to ensure the drains in the state are cleared and maintained. This entails constant removal of refuse, vegetal growth, and silt from drains for a free flow of storm water across the state.

“The traders are the reason our drainages are blocked. I want to urge them to desist from displaying their wares on the street and drainage system. It is the major cause of the blocked drainage that we experience which further cause flooding in the state”.

The Deputy Speaker stressed that their activities further indicated that “a lot of work still needs to be done if Lagos would be able to achieve its desire as stated by the present administration”.

The issues came up yesterday, during the 5th Edition of constituency stakeholders’ meeting, simultaneously held in the 40 constituencies of the state, organised by the state House of Assembly.

The theme of the meeting, was: “Environmental Challenges: Community Engagement to facilitate lasting solution.”

While appealing for the reintroduction of monthly sanitation, the chairman, Community Development Committee, CDC, somewhere in Lagos Island, Abdul-Malik Buhari, lamented that since the cancellation of the exercise, the eco-system in the state had been altered.

An environmental expert, Falade Oyekan, added that lack of proper waste management was already having an effect on the buildings within Lagos Island.

“Due to it, we are experiencing collapse building. We do not want that again in Lagos Island. So we will appeal that the sanitation exercise is reintroduced, “Oyekan said.

Engr. Olyfemu Adebayo and Mr. Sesi Smith, both residents of Ifako- Ijaiye expressed approval to return monthly sanitation exercise, saying, “This will assist a great deal in instilling sanitation culture in both young and old and bring about a sustaining cleaner environment for the good of all in the community, in particular and the state in general.

“It will also help reduce the crisis of blocked drainages, canals and indiscriminate refuse dump.”

Oke, the council boss, in his submission, said, “In order to instil environmental discipline in this dispensation, there is a subsisting by-law on environmental degradation, announced that plans have been concluded to enforce and prosecute violators of environmental laws.

“A customary court has been resusitated and equipped to trial offenders of environmental laws in the area. The measure which will commence within the next one one, anyone found guilty will pay the fine accordingly. This is not a punitive measure but to serve as deterrent.”

Adedeji in his address, said the meeting was based on past discoveries of socio-economic and infrastructural challenges in the various constituencies.

He continued: “As a way forward, the leadership of the Assembly, have decided this time to present and address issues of environmental challenges, hence, the choice of the theme.

“The Assembly recently, deliberated extensively at its plenary session on Tuesday, 23rd, July 2019, on the increasing and threatening environmental issues in the state, including flooding, drainage related matters and the need to proffer necessary solutions.”

The lawmakers lamented that despite efforts being put in place to sensitise residents on the need to protect environment, some still preferred to violate the law and involved in actions capable of frustrating government’s efforts and huge investment in the sector.

“The government, in protecting the environment and improving healthy living standard of residents has resulted in the ongoing re-organisation of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, to be pro-active towards enforcing regulating and ensuring improved waste management process.”

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