A human rights organisation, the Save Lagos Group has carpeted the Akinwunmi Ambode led government in Lagos State, accusing it (the state government) of fragrant abuse of human rights in the implementation of the recently passed Environmental Management and Protection Law.
This is coming just as the Save Lagos Group also raised the alarm over an impending epidemic in the state resulting from prevalence of mounting heaps of refuse across the state.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday, the Convener of the group, Comrade Adeniyi, A Sulaiman specifically accused men of the newly established Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) of infringing on the rights of the people of the state.
Sulaiman accused men of the sanitation corps of arbitrary arrest, molestation and indecent assault on women (in their GREEN MARIAH) as well as illegal detention in prison while purporting to be implementing the law, especially those relating to the enforcement of street trading in the state.
He went further to accuse operatives of the corps of gross extortion of residents in the course of arresting them, saying those who failed to pay are usually sent to prison by the illegal and Kangaroo courts that have been put in place to send the hapless residents to jail.
Citing an incidence that occurred recently at Iyana-Oworo area of the state where a staff member of the corps was stoned to death, Sulaiman on behalf of the group urged the state government to curb the excesses of its men as a way to forestall a total breakdown of law and order in the state.
According to Save Lagos Group, the member of the corps who was killed in the reported incidence, one Moshood Ayeni, was lynched by street traders when he led other officials of the corps to apprehend a trader who was hawking in traffic.
He added that the manner in which the late law enforcer tried to carry out his duty prompted other traders to mobilize themselves and attacked the vehicle of the sanitation.
“It is a pity that the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) has become an instrument for tormenting the hapless citizens of the state. Rather than be a tool for assisting the downtrodden in achieving their aim of survival on their meager resources, the corps have become a tool for adding to their misery.
“On daily basis, downtrodden Lagosians are daily clamped into detention and prison for offences that are purely civil. This is because so many of them (those arrested) usually fail to meet the condition placed on them by the quasi-judicial arrangement put in place to try them, a situation that has led to overcrowding of the major prisons facilities such as Ikoyi, Kirikiri and Badagry Maximum prisons located in the state.”Sulaiman stated.
On the current worrisome state of sanitation in the state, Save Lagos Group lamented that the state government has shirked its responsibilities of ensuring the cleanliness of the environment by doing away with the operators of the Private Sector Participants (PSP) arrangement that worked in the past for a new one whose scope is yet to be defined.
“We are worried by the mounting heaps of refuse across the state. We are worried because the state government seems nonchalant in tackling the scourge which is detriment to public health. Putting the records straight, epidemic is looming in the state as the Lagos State Government has refused to put in place a workable refuse management arrangement.” He said.
The Save Lagos Group who sent its members across the state listed areas worst hit by mounting refuse to include, Agege, Ikorodu, Idumota, Ogudu, Ojota, Ajegunle, Ijora-Badiya and Abule Egba lamented that the situation is very dire and urgent.
“In all these areas we mentioned, there are mounting heaps of refuse that have remained unattended to for about five months owing to the dispute between the state government and the PSP operators over modalities for carting the refuse away. Our members raised alarm over the way rodents found habitation in the refuse, a situation that would make nonsense of the fight against dreaded Lassa fiver and other chronic fever such as typhoid, malaria and the likes.” He said.
Sulaiman concluded by urging the state government to live up to its responsibilities of safe guarding the welfare and well being of the residents of the state by curbing the excesses of men of the state sanitation corps as well clearing the mountain of refuse that dot the metropolis.
He stated that the group has started the process of mobilizing residents against the state government with a view to forcing the hand of the Ambode led administration to do the needful in the way it manages the environment of the state.
“We are serving a note of warning to the state government to wake up to its responsibilities of safeguarding the health and lives of the people under its care. For the information of those in government, we are already compiling the necessary dossier needed for articulating the series of infractions that have been committed with a view to ensuring that the errant officials including the state governor if the need arises are punished for deliberate negligence.” He said.