By Oji Odu
Although many sympathised with those that accrued loses during last Wednesday, March 18, 2018 inferno that left vehicles, goods et cetera destroyed, however, another good number are not happy for yet another reason. Lagos state government now wants to remove the dumpsite following the loss of about 10 of its transportation buses (LAGBUS) in the fire that put that axis of the state at standstill.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, reacting, said that the state government has decided to shut down the Olusosun dump site in Ojota because the location of the facility is no longer healthy for trading and living.
The governor who addressed scavengers and other workers at the site following the outbreak of fire last Wednesday, said aside from the negative health implication of the site to the people, the structure of the facility was also risky and susceptible to all forms of hazards like the fire outbreak.
While visiting the site for the second time since last Wednesday’s fire outbreak, following an alleged fight between Hausa/ Fulani and Yoruba scavengers, Ambode expressed joy that there were no casualties, but, however reiterated that the closure of the site became necessary to forestall future occurrence and protect the health of residents.
“What happened is not as if anybody deliberately put fire there. It is the refuse that is dumped there as well as the gas coming from the underground and the hot sun which was around 36 to 38 degrees that caused the fire. We thank God nothing bad happened to those living there and around the neighbourhood.
“What we have decided now is that there will not be dumping of refuse here any longer. But the most important aspect of it is that I cannot open my eyes and allow diseases to befall you here. At the end of the day, it is the government that will still care for you. So, we have to sit down and agree.
“I have not come to disturb you; what should be removed will be removed; we are not dumping waste here again. What will benefit all the people here is my concern. But we have to take it one after the other and we want all your leaders to cooperate with us,” he said.Bottom of Form
Why has Lagos state government just woken up to relocate the smelly dump site, an eyesore that welcomes everybody coming into Lagos through Ojota, which is located a stone- throw from the Alausa seat of government? Is it because about 10 of their transportation vehicles were destroyed in the fire this time, as this is not the first time of recording this type of fire?
The Magazine’s findings reveal that the Ojota dump site has been there as long as most Lagosians can remember, with its stench, health and environmental hazards which the seat of power is not immune to, as many also feed from its wealth.
In a chat with the Magazine, Gbarasi James, an Environmentalist said: “This is a very highly welcome development for Lagos State and it’s inhabitants. It’s been long awaited. Whether the state government has woken up because some of it’s vehicles were destroyed, or whatever lad to the decision to relocate the refuse dump, it is welcome.
“After all, whenever one wakes up is his morning says an adage. What I wish is that the state should be more ‘Excellent’ in doing things on time.”
Also speaking on the issue, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, explained that the governor’s visits and the government’s decision to shut down the site were to protect the people and the environment to ensure their health and safety.
He said that the state has directed waste collection operators to make use of the landfill site at Ewu Elepe in Ikorodu and that of Epe, Bamigbetan with the closure of Ojota dump site, and unveiled plans to transform dumpsite into parks and gardens, among others. This will start with perimeter fencing.
“This action is in line with the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) of this administration and conforms to international best practices,” he said.
With the shutting down of the Ojota dump site, many expect Governor Ambode to use the opportunity to deal with the issue of dump sites in the state at Igando and others. This will remove the state from its new attachment as the ‘Centre of Filth