The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) on Monday destroyed over 400 carts confiscated from pushers, who serially dump waste at unauthorised locations in the metropolis.
The Managing Director/CEO, LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, told newsmen that the indiscriminate dumping of waste by the cart pushers was a clear violation of the environmental laws of the state.
Odumboni said they also constituted a security challenge to the metropolis through their nefarious activities.
He said that the exercise, which would be a continuous one, became necessary to weaken the ability of the cart pushers to return to business.
According to him, the exercise will decimate the cart population defacing the cityscape, adding that the activities of cart pushers across the Lagos Metropolis remained banned.
He observed that cart pushers posed threat not only to environmental sustainability but to the security of residents, as many cart pushers harbour dangerous weapons like knives, machetes, and others, to perpetrate criminal activities.
“Cart pushers are about the biggest threat to our effort at attaining environmental sustainability.
“We will not allow anyone or group of persons to derail the ongoing efforts to make the environment better.
“Criminal elements have hidden under this guise to carry out heinous crimes. If there are no carts to push, they will get other jobs.
“They pose as much threat to the environment as to the security of the citizens.
“It will shock you to know that many of them keep weapons like knives, machetes, etc., in their carts to attack and dispossess unsuspecting persons when the opportunity presents itself,” Odumboni said.
The LAWMA boss said that one of such cart pushers was tried and jailed last week, having been apprehended at Victoria Island, vandalising and stealing the government’s iron rods.
“There have been many reported cases of theft of movable items from people’s compounds traced to them,” Odumboni said.
The LAWMA boss said that the opportunity was open for repentant cart pushers, to register with LAWMA, give proper orientation and training as pickers and off-takers of recyclables, and work hand in hand with other stakeholders in the waste management chain.
Odumboni said that the government was not interested in taking away their means of livelihood, which, however, had to be within the confines of the law.
The LAWMA boss reaffirmed the agency’s total commitment to making the State’s city space an environment-friendly one.
He urged residents to join the authority’s quest for a cleaner Lagos by shunning improper waste disposal, paying their waste bill, and patronising assigned Private Sector Participants (PSP) operators.
Also speaking, the President of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAMN), Mr David Oriyomi, lauded the government’s constant support for the association, promising a new era of fruitful collaboration with LAWMA.
Present at the event, which took place at LAWMA’ office Ogudu, were LAWMA’s Executive Director of Finance, Mr. Kunle Adebiyi; Chief Technical Officer, Dr Olohunwa Tijani; Head, Enforcement unit, Mr Idowu Sanni; and other stakeholders.