By Grace Alegba
Govwernor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos has inaugurated phase 1 of Visions-Cape Implementation in a renewed commitment for the actualisation of his vision of making the city to be among the cleanest in the world.
Visions-Cape is an environmental utility group which is to take over waste management in the state under a Public/Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement tagged: the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI).
Ambode said that waste management in Lagos had become a big task due to the rising population, hence the need to introduce new operators with advanced technology to manage all types of wastes.
The governor, who was represented by Commissioner for Environment, Dr Babatunde Adejare, said, “we have always believed in Visions-Cape and by the grace of God, Lagos is going to be one of the cleanest cities of the world’’.
He said that the desire to improve the sanitation in the state, in line with producing a friendlier environment for residents, had been a long desire that the inauguration of the CLI would actualise.
“To carry out a reform is not easy and we did not want to leave anything to chance,’’ he said.
On the litigation with Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, also known as the Private Sector Participation (PSP) Operators, he said that the contractual agreement with the operators to manage waste expired in July 2016.
Ambode said that being in court should not hinder waste management, adding that the state government was ready to partner with the litigants and was working on achieving harmony with them.
“This occasion is to make sure our city is not dirty. There are about 350 PSP operators and we have 25 million Lagosians. Do we want to satisfy 350 to the detriment of 25 million people?’’ he asked.
The governor explained that 600 compactors were being sourced from various countries, adding that the state plans to have about 5,000 within the next five years.
He said that the existing trans-loading stations would be transformed into organised well-structured waste recycling systems.
Earlier, Mr Harry Ackerman, the Executive Director, Visions-Cape, said the company would eliminate dump sites in residential areas in the first phase of the project.
Ackerman said that phase two of the project would target the total elimination of waste from households.
Visions-Cape’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mrs Motunrayo Elias, said the organisation had the manpower and equipment to keep Lagos cleaner.
She added that the project would create several jobs for residents of the state.
Elias said Visions-Cape would commence phase 1 of the company’s implementation strategy with ‘Operation Deep Clean’ on July 1.
“Visions-Cape has made provision to ensure that there would no longer be dump sites in the state.
“We have trucks and tricycles to run and collect refuse in every part of Lagos even the riverine areas, and we run a 24 hours operations,’’ Elias said.
She also said that in a few weeks the company would roll out an advocacy programme to educate the public on better ways to handle wastes, especially hazardous ones.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PSP operators had in January, filed a suit against the state government and five others, seeking to stop them from managing domestic wastes in the state.
The PSP operators also joined the Visions-Cape Group, Visions-Cape Sanitation Solutions Ltd and ABC Sanitation Solutions Ltd in the suit. (NAN)