Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday launched Cleaner Lagos Initiative, CLI and the Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps, LAGESC, to tackle the problem of environmental nuisance in Lagos.
At the launch which held at the Agege Stadium, Agege area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, Ambode said the CLI was billed to take the State into the desired future as far as achieving clean, hygienic and flood-free State was concerned.
“To roll back sanitation shortcomings and accelerate seamless cleaning of our environment, the Lagos megacity was in dire need of an enduring solution that would match the needed technology with the massive investment required for its attainment. It is this void that the CLI has come to fill by creating an environment for the private sector to harness international best practice in the vital area of solid waste management and consequently free public funds for other beneficial uses.
“As a result, residential waste collection and processing which is concessioned to a reputable and competent multinational Waste Services Company is being given a new lease of life with 600 brand new compactors and 900,000 electronically tracked bins, while wastes generated by the commercial sector would be handled by licensed waste management operators,” he said.
Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule added that for efficient collection and disposal operations, the State had concessioned three Transfer Loading Stations/Material Recovery Facilities at Agege, Oshodi and Simpson and three Waste Depots at Mushin, Ogudu and Simpson with the aim of rehabilitating, remodelling and retrofitting these facilities to world class standard, while engineered sanitary/ engineered hazardous landfills were being constructed in different locations across Lagos State under the Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BFOT) model.
Ambode said his administration shall continue to implement creative ideas and concepts that reduced the cost of running government and ideas that created a more beautiful and healthier Lagos, while Lagosians were assured of a more prosperous and happier livelihood.
According to him, “this is what the Cleaner Lagos Initiative represents as it aims to revitalize the entire Solid Waste Management sector to have far-reaching benefits and multiplier effects for the State in particular, and the country at large. The new initiative will usher in a new financially viable and technology-driven sub-sector to the Lagos economy, creating new businesses and job opportunities, including over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs with high poverty alleviation emphasis to serve as a model for the entire Country.
“To effectively regulate and monitor the sector, adequate institutional arrangements have been put in place. LAWMA is being repositioned to focus on its primary regulatory roles, while the Public Utilities Monitoring Assurance Unit (PUMAU) has been established to coordinate the modalities of billing, revenue assurance and enforcement of the Public Utility Levy (PUL), an annual levy which has come to replace the monthly PSP levy.”
He stated that the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Brigade had been transformed to the Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) to assist in the enforcement of the payment of PUL as all residents of the State, be it private or corporate, were hereby entitled to the payment of the PUL and were urged to comply steadfastly as that is their all important contribution to cleaning the State.
Earlier, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Samuel Adejare said from the outset of this administration, the government had prioritized environmental management in all its ramifications, saying however, that the complexity of providing a holistic and sustainable solution to Solid Waste Management and Sanitation in particular, implied that government had to take some time to thoroughly assess these challenges and carefully develop a strategy, which had led to the CLI.
He also said that the LAGESC which took off with 920 Corps members had been established to assist in monitoring and enforcement of environmental laws as well as help the Public Utilities Monitoring and Assurance Unit (PUMAU) in the enforcement of payment of the Public Utility Levy (PUL).
“The agency shall monitor and maintain surveillances along highways, streets and public amenities as well as regularly report any breach of the provisions of the law. This soft launch is just the tip of the iceberg as the government will soon launch other components of the CLI such as the Residential Waste Collection and Processing; Commercial, Industrial, Hazardous, and Medical Waste Collection; Secondary and Tertiary Drainage Maintenance and so on,” he said.