20 March 2017

Nigeria: Lagos Laments Sabotage in New Waste Management Regime

The Lagos State Government at the weekend lamented sabotage of its Environmental Protection and Management Law, 2017 it introduced precisely three weeks ago to chart a new direction for hygiene, sanitation and water in the state.

The state government, also, denied charging some levies on boreholes dug for domestic purpose, acknowledging that only landlords and individuals, who dug boreholes solely for commercial reasons, were liable to pay levies.

This was contained in a statement the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, issued at the weekend, acknowledging delay the residents "are currently experiencing in the area of waste collection."

He added that the state government, especially the Ministry of the Environment, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and its sanitation gangs, were working to resolve all issues relating to waste disposal in the state.

He said the state government would not give in to the sabotage by those opposed to the reforms in the environmental sector, stressing that it would not be frustrated in its determination "to achieve a cleaner Lagos by seeming vested interests working against the reforms."

He explained that all issues pertaining to Cleaner Lagos Initiative "are being addressed, especially in the crucial area of waste management," noting that the State Environmental Protection and Management Law, 2017 was enacted in the overall interest of all Lagos residents.

He explained that the law was also enacted "to ensure cleaner environment; guarantee public health safety and chart a new direction that water, sanitation and hygiene are non-negotiable requisites in the state.

"The rapid growth of Lagos, its dream of 24-hour economy and government financial limitations made it pertinent to make investor-friendly Laws that will attract the desired investment into the sector.

"With Cleaner Lagos Initiative, the government reassures all and sundry of its determination to clean the environment in our state and we are already taking the necessary steps in that direction."

He added that there was no such thing in the law that seeks to criminalise individuals sinking boreholes, stating that only boreholes dug for commercial purposes "require license or payment and this is not a new practice as it has been in existence since.

"The position of the Law as provided in sections 253 and 259 of the Environmental Management and Protection Law as it relates to construction of borehole or well has not changed from what it used to be.

"First, landlords are free to dig or construct boreholes in their houses without any permit or licence, provided that the regulation on location of such bore-hole is followed, that is the bore-hole, or well must not be sited near soak away or septic tank."

He said licence "is required only by landlords that intend to construct a borehole or a well for commercial or industrial use. If you dig or construct to sell or for industrial use, you need location permit."

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