Gentlemen of the press, I welcome you to the Monthly Press Briefing of the Environment Family. Let me reiterate that the platform is intended to sensitise the members of the public on government policies and actions designed to address challenges arising from developments in the environment.
It is therefore necessary for me to remind Lagosians again of our government’s unrelenting resolve to ensure that the metropolis remains clean, habitable and safe. Consequently, the state is declaring a final zero tolerance on all violations of its environmental laws and infractions, especially the right of way, either of the roads, walkways, rail lines and drainage channels.
Please permit me at this point to also specially reiterate that the government has now resolved to take out all illegal structures and attachments outside all designated market premises and tenements, as well as enforce the right of way of our roads, rail lines and drainage channels, in order to ensure free flow of storm water and avert flooding
With the ever-rising population, our mega city state of excellence cannot afford to compromise safety, by allowing obstructions of access to markets, rail lines, roads and drainages. Our coastal state of aquatic splendour with high water table levels, must maintain a clean, flood-free and serene environment. To do otherwise is to allow flood water to stagnate and cause malaria and other diseases.
All infringements on the state’s drainage alignments, street trading, especially on roads, rail lines and walkways, as well as attachments to tenements and markets must give way. Anyone caught carrying out illegal trading on our pedestrian bridges will also face the wrath of the law.
The untoward activities of a few errant, but negligible residents, traders and hawkers, have continued to damage valuable infrastructures. They pollute and block our water and drainage channels and pose serious dangers to our environment, our security and safety of our lives and properties. I say, this morning that, enough is enough!
On our part, we shall not relent on the sensitisation of the populace on the unacceptable activities of those erecting unapproved shops and buildings on our drainage channels and right of way. Our enforcement agents have been working hard to ensure compliance with all environmental laws. However, some recalcitrant elements are not heeding our appeals and advocacy efforts.
It will however, no longer be business as usual for the few bad eggs. The government is therefore restating in the strongest terms possible our zero tolerance policy and ban on all illegal structures on our right of way. The days of street traders, flagrantly obstructing traffic and committing heinous crimes and endangering our safety are therefore over.
As the commercial nerve centre of the nation, street trading does not befit our hard-earned status. It constitutes an affront to our laws. Street traders and hawkers have been degrading the state’s environment, parks and gardens, as well as encouraging crimes and causing traffic gridlocks.
We should all recall that His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, recently directed the Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and other Special Offences, as well as the KAI Brigade to ensure enforcement of the laws prohibiting street trading in the state.
Our state is a centre of excellence and we shall not allow a few unscrupulous group or persons indiscriminately dumping refuse on our roads and blocking our drainages to go without stiff sanctions. Their habits portend dire consequences for our health, traffic, safety and security of our people.
Meanwhile, the buyers and sellers in street trading are now to face the same sanctions, since patronage serves as incentives for continued perpetration of the illegal acts. Our roads are not markets and our canals and drainage channels are not dumpsites.
As a responsible government, we understand that people must make a living and survive, but it should not be at the expense of the lives of others.
Imposition of fines, seizure of goods, non-custodian penalties and other sanctions like community service involving washing of public toilets, cutting of grass, sweeping of roads, cleaning of drains and carting away of refuse to dump sites in the full glare of the press are some of the sanctions awaiting culprits.
I am therefore appealing to the greater majority of law-abiding members of the public to join hands with the government to bequeath a sustainable environment to generations yet unborn.
Gentlemen of the press, Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me again say with all the emphasis at my command, that the monthly Environmental sanitation holding on the last Saturday of every month was never cancelled, Anyone violating the restrictions on human and vehicular movements during the monthly exercise between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. will face the full wrath of the law. The ban on movement during the restriction does not allow social gathering or any sporting activity.
I therefore want to most sincerely thank all governmental and non-governmental organizations which have been supporting the government in observing all environmental laws and keeping our city-state clean. It is our prayer that as we continue to do this, especially during this Holy month of Ramadan, God will bless us, our state and our Nation.
Thank you for listening as you remain blessed.
Itesiwaju Ilu Eko lo je wa logun o.
Dr. Babatunde Samuel Adejare
Commissioner for the Environment
June 28, 2016