By Oji Odu
Another perculiar mess (penkelemess) according to the late First Republic politician, Papa Adelabu may be in the offing in Lagos state. The state government has ordered residents living close to the Olusosun, Ojota refuse dump site to quit the area.
The order which followed the shutdown of the site due to the inferno that engulfed the site for some days has cut short the joy that greeted the state’s earlier decision to shut the refuse dump, especially from the residents living within that axis. Their joy has been replaced by anxiety, fear and confusion.
To many of them, Lagos state does not issue quit notices without evicting those concerned by any means and taking over their lands. Their case is worsened by the fire that gutted the dump site whereby about 10 state transport buses (LAGBUS) were destroyed.
Will the residents and business ventures and offices at Alausa, including the Lagos state Government House and those living close to the dump site by Kudira Abiola Way be affected by the quit order because the whole environment is polluted by stench from the Olososun refuse dump site?
The government, on Monday, March 19, 2018, issued the quit notice to those living within the refuse dump axis, urging them to avoid the area due to the health hazards associated with the thick smoke coming from the dump site.
The Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Hakeem Dickson, gave the advice on relocation to the residents during a press conference on ‘Vision Zero’ in Ikeja.
“The smoke has continued to billow and the advice became necessary to prevent health hazards.
Lagos Vision Zero is a transformational approach that interprets the tripod stand of safety, health, and wellbeing at all levels at work. It was borne out of the need to reduce hazards in workplaces and ensure zero accident and zero death.”
But many of the affected residents are not taking the quit order lightly. Lamenting to the Magazine, an angry and visibly shaken Dayo Popoola, a Landlord to one of the affected buildings said: “ This quit notice spells trouble. The Yaba issue that resulted in the mysterious fire that gutted the marked is still fresh. What about Oshodi or the Idumota that drove those traders to ‘Super’ Market along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway? Their reason is not that they are really interested in our good health.”
For Mrs. Sade Adenike, a housewife, “the reverse directive for we the residents of the Olusosun area to quit whether temporarily or permanently after earlier decision to shut down the dump site came as a big shock.
“The state government cannot say it is interested in our good health because we have been living here for decades, while they have been collecting their various forms of taxes, rates et cetera. Why should they ask us to leave after solving the problem and turning the dump site into parks? Something is, indeed, fishy. Don’t be surprised that in the long run that government wants to takeover our lands. We hope there would be no mystery fires,” she said.
Following the quit order and assumed governments deep concern for the health of the people, there are fears that that the order may result in pathetic casualties than the health hazards caused by the dump site may have caused.
“How does government expect people to relocate now under this present economic hardship? Will it fund the cost of their moving? Where they are to relocate? What about those with weak hearts who are hypertensive? Won’t this order kill some of them before they move? Will it not kill more if some of them who own these houses are told they are to lose them?
Further investigation by the Magazine reveals that residents of Igando and its environs are gripped with fear following the quit notice by Lagos State government to those living within the Olusosun, Ojota refuse dump. The stench from the Igando refuse dump site goes as far as Isheri Olofin. The General Hospital, Igando which is close to the dump site is worse hit, as patients and medical personnel battle with the stench to save lives.
Will the General Hospital, Igando be relocated after quitting other residents of the area, even after government may have shut down the dump site?
While lauding the shutdown of Olusosun refuse dump site, Edet Johnson, an Environmentalist, hopes that the state government will not be funny in the quit notice order if it uses it to grab lands from the people for misappropriated projects.