There are indications that the Lagos State Government may be constrained to close the multi-billion naira Ladipo International Spare Parts Market in Mushin over alleged environmental infractions.
The market, a major contributor to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), has been shut in the recent past for various environmental reasons.
Some of the reasons included hooliganism, lack of toilet facilities, degradation of the environment with diesel and fuel products, and illegal structures.
However, such actions often lead to a public outcry because of their impact on the citizenry who depend directly or indirectly on the market for their daily needs.
Experts put the loss of the closure at about N100 million a day.
But, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, said the state might take the unpopular path if the market leaders failed to do the needful.
Such actions, he said, would be necessary to protect the environment because of its importance to the sustainability of the human race.
Odumboni said the state had intervened several times at the market and would continue to do so because of its location.
He stressed that the agency had been working with the market executive committees to find a sustainable way to manage their waste.
According to him, waste management is a collective responsibility, while the government provides an enabling environment and the regulatory frameworks, residents and businesses around the area must take ownership of waste management efforts.
He said LAWMA had four big bins at Ladipo, which were sustaining the market, but residents and businesses and those going to the market still have the responsibility to keep the place clean.
He said: “The PSP operators should be paid for packing their refuse so that there could be a symbiotic relationship.
“We don’t want to rush to enforcement; we want to engage and enlighten them, and wait a bit for their response, then we enforce.
“We are at the stage of understudying the Ladipo businesses and the commercial activities and what the residents are doing. After this, we will move to the next stage of enforcement and compliance.
“This is at the forefront of what LAWMA is doing and it is something we are discussing regularly.”
Odumboni stressed that the agency did the same in Daleko Market, which was worse, by shutting down the market, cleaned up the perimeter fences and challenged their leaders to take responsibility, and now, Daleko does not have that problem again.
“Overnight, they employed youths to police the front of Daleko market because they know that if the situation got bad again, the market would be shut.
“For Ladipo, there are situations when we shut the market because of the recalcitrance of some of the people over there, but I know their executive members are working hard to ensure that the market is not shut again. If the market is shut one day, the lost economic revenue is more than what they will use for their waste management in the whole of two years.”
On the poor state of major canals, he said, LAWMA was collaborating with agencies like Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) on litter control, because its job had gone beyond the conventional ways.
“We have gone into litter control with people like LASPARK to get rid of plastics in our gardens and parks and also canals.
“We have a litter gang that goes around the major roads to ensure that all litters are well controlled. When litters are not controlled, they eventually end up in drains. With our activities over the last two years, the volume of plastics that used to end up in our canals has reduced drastically due to the activities of our sweepers on the road.
“Lagos has over 14,000 sweepers to ensure the state is clean on a regular basis. We are working assiduously to clear all the backlogs of waste in our drainages over the last two years. We have continued to clear the primary and secondary drainages in Lagos as well as introduced wirement in couple of our canals or secondary channels. We have about 31 major canals in Lagos.
“In some of these canals, we have retirement and our marine team go there with boats to pack away what they cleared at night, we did the similar thing in our shorelines across the state.
“We collect a minimum of 17 tipper loads of plastics in the canals and drains daily. There has been a major improvement from what it used to be.
“If you see a decline in the volume of plastics, it is because we are intervening in them,” he added.
But the President-General, Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers Association (LCEADA), Jude Nwankwo, said the canals are always cleared during the Thursday weekly environment sanitation in the market.
He stressed that they have been pratronising the PSP operators, but the problem was that some of them were not even coming to cart away the waste.
According to him, the problem in Ladipo is caused by the local government authorities, which give contracts based on political patronage and not on competence.
He said: “We have a committee in the market working with LAWMA to ensure they pack the refuse, but they are not regular.
“We are trying to pay our bills but people are complaining that they don’t come to carry the waste. It has not been easy for us. We have written to them in many of our units but they are still not packing the bins.
“When we called other PSP operators to pack the bins, they get angry and insisted that we should pay them. That is the challenge we are facing with them.”