54 days after Executive Order, Lagos begins demolition of illegal structures

• Assembly sets up ad-hoc committee to address flooding, refuse heaps 
Nearly two months after Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, signed an Executive Order for enforcement of law and order in respect of traffic and sanitation matters, the order, yesterday, began to take effect when members of an ad-hoc Inter-Ministerial Committee meant to drive its enforcement mobilised to the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, to demolished all illegal structures on the right of way and evacuated refuse.The Order, according to the governor, is to also ensure the attainment of zero tolerance for environmental abuse, illegal and indiscriminate dumping of refuse and construction of structures on drainage points and setbacks.

Before yesterday, there was no action to back the order on the field, as things remained the same with illegal structures and waste littering major parts of Lagos. Yesterday, the state government fulfilled its threat, as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) caterpillar was crushing and pulling down structures, men of the Lagos task force on Environment and Miscellaneous Offences were knocking down makeshift kiosks.

Speaking after monitoring the exercise, which started at Eric Moore, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Dr. Taiwo Salaam, said the cleanup will be terminated at Trade Fair bus stop while tomorrow, the team will move to Oshodi enroute Abule-Egba. One of the traders, Isidebe Onyenekwe lamented her loss to the demolition but implored the state not to leave the reclaimed space vacant, but put it to better use.

Meanwhile, the Lagos House of Assembly has set up an ad-hoc committee to address the issues of environmental challenges and degradation in the state. The committee as announced by the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, during plenary yesterday has Moshood Oshun from Lagos Mainland Constituency II as chairman. Members of the committee are Olayiwola Sobur from Mushin Constituency II, Folajimi Mohammed from Ikeja Constituency I and Tijani Suraju from Ojo Constituency II.

Obasa, who observed that issues of abandoned projects and disposal of refuse characterised the environment in the state, directed the committee to visit some of the drainages, LAWMA office and report back to the House in one week. This decision was followed by a Matter of Urgent Public Importance raised by Noheem Adams from Eti-Osa Constituency I.

Adams recalled that there was an Executive Order by Governor Sanwo-Olu on May 29, where he declared a state of emergency on the environment in Lagos. He said: “Is there any improvement in waste management since the Executive Order was issued. It has improved in some parts of the state such as my area, Eti-Osa Constituency 1, but it is not so in some other parts of the state.”The lawmaker then urged the State Ministry of the Environment to evacuate the waterways in the state, adding that most of the drainages in the state were not being evacuated.

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