By Ebunoluwa Sessou, Ekhato Paula & Franca Odia
ALMOST four months into the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and in spite of his efforts, the state is still facing the scourge of insecurity, bad roads, blocked drains and heaps of refuse along highways.
This was the verdict of stakeholders at meetings held in the 40 constituencies of the state, last week, noting that the problems were some of the issues affecting good governance in Lagos.
The stakeholders’ meetings were organised by the Lagos House of Assembly with the theme: ‘’Environmental Challenges: Community Engagement to Facilitate Lasting Solution.”
From Agege, the base of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, to other constituencies including Apapa, Kosofe, Epe, Somolu, Amuwo Odofin, Surulere, Ikorodu, Somolu, Ajeromi Ifelodun, Badagry Ifako/Ijaiye, Ikeja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Oshodi/Isolo, Eti-Osa and Ibeju-Lekki, the stories are the same.
The issues of flood, insecurity, bad roads, and heaps of refuse on the roads were among issues highlighted .
This year’s theme, the Speaker said, was chosen to proffer solutions to the lingering environmental challenges such as dumping of refuse on streets, drainages and major highways in the state.
Noting that Lagos is the most populous state in Nigeria with over 22 million people, attracting a daily influx of over 6,000 migrants, Obasa said the state faces daunting rapid environmental problems which include waste generation and management, hence the need to engage the people in finding solutions to the environmental challenges.
“Despite efforts being put in place to sensitise residents on the need to protect the environment, some still prefer to violate the environmental law and engage in actions capable of frustrating government’s efforts and huge investment in the sector.
“The government, in protecting the environment and improving healthy living standards of residents, has re-organised the Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, to be proactive towards enforcing, regulating and ensuring improved waste management process.’’
Representatives of groups present at the various constituencies including the women, chiefs, youths, health sector, and education sector among others lamented that if care was not taken, the state would degenerate.
In Agege constituency 1, the Baale of Dopemu, Chief Ajani Shitta, said the abandoned Pen Cinema Bridge project, streets lights, insecurity, unemployment, and bad roads are some of the numerous issues begging for attention.
“The project (PEN Cinema) has been abandoned by government and that has caused havoc in the community”, he said.
On security and education, one of the residents, Mr. Niceboy Akinwunmi said, most of the government schools have been hijacked by hoodlums known as Awawa boys who unleash mayhem on students especially girls after school hours.
According to him, the Awawa boys position themselves at the entrance of school gates, terrorise, molest and abused students.
Other residents said bad roads, insecurity, and lack of street lights in the area have posed serious security threats to the citizenry, adding that creation of employment opportunities and provision of facilities will bring about positive change in the community.
Dredging Ladoje Canal
In Agege 2, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ambaliu Hakeem Agbedeyi, the Alayige of Orile-Agege, lamented that the Ladoje canal had wreaked havoc on the residents of the area, claiming many lives and destroying properties. I
The canal that runs through Ifako/Ijaiye to Abattoir and takes off to Ladoje, and then to Oko-Oba and moves to Amo Oil and then Alimosho. It is a major canal that connects many areas between Agege and Alimosho local councils.
The lawmaker representing the Agege 2, Mr. Oluyinka Ogundimu, said that the government tried to fix in the canal in the past but it did not succeed. ‘’We have been calling the attention of the government to that canal and we still want the government’s intervention in that area. When the present Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, who was commissioner for Environment then, he did his best but we still believe there is more to be done in that area because it may not even rain in Agege and you will find out that flood has taken over the area. There are lots of schools around that axis, the flood also affects the movement of children to school. There is need for immediate intervention of government,’’ he said.
Unemployment, insecurity, lack of drainage system
In Apapa 2 constituency, residents complained of unemployment, insecurity, improper drainage system, poor waste disposable facility, and bad roads among others in the area.
The lawmaker representing Apapa 2, Mr. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, said: “Over 44 million youths are not employed in Nigeria, it is a crisis.’’
He said there are plans to engage the youths in environmental cleaning and assured his constituents that their complaints would be looked into adding that some of the issues were already been attended to and very soon will be addressed.
Also, in Kosofe constituency 1, residents complained about some bad roads in the community, unemployment and also uncompleted projects.
The member representing the constituency, Mr. Babatunde Okanlawon, said that the importance of the meeting was for the constituents to rub mind on issues and to educate citizens on government policies and activities as well as taking their complaints and suggestions back to the executive arm of government for necessary action.
Residents of Alimosho Constituency 1 cried out to the government to help solve the problem of noise pollution in the area.
They spoke at the constituency Stakeholders meeting held at Amen Event Centre, 2nd Avenue, Abesan Estate, Ipaja.
Mr. Yemi Solade, a resident of K Close, Gowon Estate, complained that noise pollution was rampant in the area with two churches located adjacent to his house.
The popular actor stated that there is a Mountain of Fire and Miracles Parish and another Pentecostal church in the area and that they were having programmes about five times in a week and that this was disturbing the sleep of the residents.
According to him, the pastors of the churches have refused to listen to residents’ complaints.
Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuff, who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the event, said that the governor had been doing a lot since he got to power on May 29, 2019.
Yusuff stated that the Governor has six-point agenda covering transportation, technology, healthcare, economy, and environment among others. to ensure that all the Primary Healthcare centres function properly.
She said that all many drainages in the state were blocked and that Alimosho is second on the list of places to be touched with special refuse bins.
Assuring that they are in government to represent the interest of the people of the state, she said that she is in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs and religious activities in the state, adding that something would be done about noise pollution in the state, which she said would not be tolerated.
Responding, the lawmaker representing Alimosho 1, Mr. Bisi Yusuff, recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu had signed an Executive Order on the Environment and traffic. He said that the people were being warned before the law on the environment would take effect so that they would not be caught unawares.
The lawmaker added that refuse is wealth and urged the constituents to speak up on areas where they had environmental challenges so that the government would be informed adequately.
Dumping of refuse
In Eti-Osa, Barr. Zik Obi from Dolphin Estate, complained of water shortage and blockage of drainages.
Others who spoke complained of bad environment that have been messed up by the people.
In response to their complains, the lawmaker representing Eti-Osa 1, Gbolahan Yishawu, said the state government is working assiduously to construct roads, and urged them to exercise patience with Governor Sanwo-Olu.
The lawmaker assured that the 9th Assembly would continue to do everything possible within its capacity to bring governance closer to the people.
“The progress of our state is a collective responsibility and we urge you to continue to support the government by performing your civic responsibilities,” he added.
Responding to issues raised, Obasa assured that they would be addressed by the government and urged the citizens to support government by protecting all properties and facilities provided to improve governance.