by Usman Alabi
There is no better parameter to measure the environmental policy of Governor Ambode other than his recent Cleaner Lagos Initiative which has so far been a failure, as well as the Olusosun dump site.
The rationale behind the Cleaner Lagos Initiative is still not clear, how Ambode thought less of the environmental policy he inherited which though might not be ideal but far better than his replacement. The Private Sector Partnership (PSP) and LAWMA under the previous administration were fantastic initiatives that could only have been improved upon. But Ambode, without any pilot study came up with an initiative that completely annihilated the previous policy, this he called the Cleaner Lagos Initiative. He single-handedly picked one visionscape company to be the Lord and master of Lagos waste management.
Visionscape started failing from the beginning, they were obviously overwhelmed by the amount of waste in Lagos, something they probably either underestimated or never expected. Even the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, which has successfully turned every part of Lagos into a heap of waste. And even now, the situation has not abated. The same people Ambode sabotaged out of the picture, he went back to so as to salvage the situation. Currently, the visionscape waste baskets placed in strategic corners to collect waste have been removed in most part of Lagos. There is no official statement to that effect and no one can exactly state what is going on. Cleaner Lagos was only successful on social media.
Another case is the Olusosun dump site which has become a menace before now, even though the Lagos state government has only been paying lip service to addressing the situation, a character that is typical of the leadership in Nigeria; reactive rather than proactive.
The dump site was on fire about a month ago destroying properties and constituting environmental menace, though the fire was put out, but the smoke persist. Over one month after the fire, people residing and working in Olusosun and environs, far off places like Magodo, toll gate, Ikosi, Oregun are currently groaning under the environmental hazards caused by the smouldering smoke which has become a daily occurrence making live completely difficult for these people. Visibility is extremely poor due to the smoke fog, and this keep going on everyday, yet the Lagos state government under the leadership of Ambode continue to maintain loud silence.
Commuters were seen with coverings on their noses to prevent them from inhaling the smoke. Workers in motorways were seen leaving their offices to work else where, public and private schools in Ikosi, CMD road were shut for over one week according to reports because of a smoke that could have been addressed or controlled.
Yet, the only response from the governor had been to close down the dump site, and then advised residents who have probably been residing in that area even before the dump site to leave the area.
Ambode obviously has no plan for Lagos environmentally. In this area, his policies have been out of place, and not thoroughly thought through. Recent investigation even showed that visionscape were never a waste management company, and the circumstance surrounding their coming to Lagos is shady.
If Lagos is to achieve her mega/smart city dream, then it has to put waste management into full consideration.