By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has embarked on zero tolerance enforcement against operation of cart pushers for constituting security threats to members of the public.
This came as Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, said it has destroyed over 400 carts, confiscated from pushers, who serially dump waste at unauthorised locations across the metropolis in clear violation of environmental laws of the state and safety of the enviroment.
Speaking on the exercise which took place at LAWMA’s Ogudu facility, on Monday, the Managing Director of the authority, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, stated that the exercise which would be a continuous one, became necessary to weaken the ability of the cart pushers to return to business, and to decimate the cart population defacing the cityscape, “the activities of cart pushers across the Lagos metropolis remained banned.”
According to Odumboni, “Cart pushers pose grievous threat not only to environmental sustainability but to the security of residents, as many cart pushers harbour dangerous weapons such as: guns, knives, machetes, bow and arrows, charms, among others to perpetrate criminal activities.
“Cart pushers are about the biggest threat to our effort at attaining environmental sustainability.
“We will not allow anyone or group of persons to derail the ongoing efforts to make the environment better. Criminal elements have hidden under this guise to carry out heinous crimes. If there are no carts to push, they will get other jobs.
“They pose as much threat to the environment as to the security of the citizens.
“It will shock you to know that many of them keep dangerous weapons in their carts to attack and dispossess unsuspecting persons when the opportunity presents itself.
“One of such cart pusher was tried and jailed last week, having been apprehended at Victoria Island, vandalising and stealing government’s iron rods. There have been many reported cases of theft of movable items from people’s compounds traced to them.”
Odumboni, however, offered windows of opportunity to repentant cart-pushers to step forward, get registered with LAWMA, given proper orientation, and be trained as pickers and offtakers of recyclables, working hand in hand with other stakeholders in the waste management chain.
Odumboni maintained that government was not interested in taking away their means of livelihood, but must however, be within the confines of the law.
The LAWMA boss reaffirmed government’s total commitment to making the state’s city space an environment-friendly, urging residents to join the authority’s quest for a cleaner Lagos by shunning improper waste disposal, prompt payment of waste bill and patronage of assigned Private Sector Participant, PSP, operators.
Also commenting, the president of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, AWAMN, Mr. David Oriyomi, commended state government’s constant support for the association, promising a new era of fruitful collaboration with LAWMA.