The Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAN) on Thursday stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly to protest and plead for support in their investments in the state’s Cleaner Lagos Initiative.
This new sanitation initiative will replace the state monthly sanitation exercise and is part of the 251-section Environmental Management and Protection Bill, 2017 before the House.
The state government had said that the initiative became imperative due to challenges inherent in the environmental laws of the state.
The executive bill is entitled: “Bill for Law to Provide for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State and for other Connected Purposes’’.
The protesting waste managers says that if the new sanitation policy scales through the House, about 2,500 people might lose their means of livelihood
They carried placards with inscription reading; “Lagos Ministry of the Environment wants to cede our services to foreign firms’’, “Monopoly! Wetin we fit do self”, and “Inequitable! 80 per cent to Oyinbo, 20 per cent to Lagosians not Acceptable”.
The Spokesman and the Vice Chairman of AWAN for the over 200 protesters, Mr Taju Ekemode told NAN that the new government policy, which ceded evacuation of 80 per cent of wastes in Lagos to foreign investors, would destroy their investments.
He said; “Where are here today to let the lawmakers know our feelings, what we suffer and what we may suffer with the Cleaner Lagos Initiative of the current executive.
“We have been doing this job well over years, and there have been no problems.
“The government plan to organise foreign firms to come and clean Lagos is absurd; we cannot agree to that.
“We are not against reform in any way, but the reform should be around the current Private Sector Participation (PSP); that is what we are saying.
“The policy directing us to leave the streets, to allow foreign firms to takes, over will kill businesses. Where do we put those trucks? We can’t use them to carry sand.
“Those trucks cannot be used for any other things apart from wastes. What do we do with our investments? What do we do to the loans we got from banks?’’.
He noted that Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode directed that PSP should be cleaning commercial places.
“But the percentage of commercial centre in Lagos is just about 20 compared to what is being ceded to foreign investment.”
“Many PSP operators collected loans from banks which they are still servicing.
”Many Lagos residents owed PSP operators much debts, and that areas allocated to them would be inadequate for the about 350 operators.
He urged the House to ensure that reform should be around the existing operations.