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Save Lagos Group wants Assembly to throw out draconian environmental bill

….Vows to report Lagos government to EFCC, ICPC

Save Lagos Group has written to the Lagos State House of Assembly with a call on members to halt further work on the proposed environmental law pending before them.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker, Mr. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa and other members of the Assembly dated on the 14th of February, 2017, the Save Lagos Group described the law as draconian and against the interest of the people of the state.

Convener of the group, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman stated in the letter that the law if eventually passed as forwarded to the Assembly by the executive arm of the state government would leave the people at the mercy of some shadowy elements in government whom he (Sulaiman) accused of making frantic attempt to corner the wealth of the state to themselves.

He accused the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of substituting the now moribund Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) with a new entity solely for the promotion of a hidden agenda that is at variance with the interest of the people of the state.

Specifically, he faulted the contents of the bill tagged A Law to provide for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State as capable of further impoverishing the people of the state who are already feeling the pang of the current economic hardship in the country occasioned by the recession in the economy.

Sulaiman flayed the bill for arrogating too much power to the newly created executive vice chairman of the board which replaced the office of the Managing Director, which was the designation of the chief executive officer of the now moribund LAWMA.

He quoted the provisions as stated in Part III, Section 3, Paragraph 1 of the bill to buttress.

“The provisions of Paragraph 5 (1) b of the 1st Schedule to the Lagos State Waste Management Authority Law Cap 27 vol. 40, 2007 as it relates to the removal of the Managing Director is hereby repealed.

“(a) The office of Managing Director is hereby replaced with the office of the Executive Vice-Chairman who shall be the Chief Executive Officer and whose appointment and removal shall be determined by the Governor subject to the approval of the House of Assembly.”

He stated that the implications of this provision of the bill is such that it makes it difficult to bring errant CEO of the yet to be formed board to account for his deeds or misdeeds as the law would protect him from public scrutiny.

The group also faulted the decision of the state government to impose Public Utilities Levy on the residents of the state, saying the move would be resisted by his group as it would further be a burden on the people of the state who have being paying various levies and taxes to the state government.

“Of particular interest to us, is the provision that states that properties of defaulting residents would be disposed off by the state government should residents find it difficult to pay the prescribed fees, which are outrageous.” Sulaiman stated.

According to the group, the Lagos State Government has concluded arrangements to mortgage the solid waste management being generated in the state to a foreign company whose identity has been revealed.

Sulaiman stated that the name of the foreign firm is Visionscape with corporate headquarters located at The Heritage Place, Lugard Avenue, Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria.

“What we however find objectionable is the composition of both the management structure as well of the board of the new company being floated by those in government to displace the local waste managers. Our objections are that very few Nigerians are in the top echelon while the lowest rung, the sweepers and those that will cart waste away are Nigerians.”

The group stated that the management team headed by a Briton, John Irvine, only five Nigerians out of the 16 member team are Nigerians, adding that “It will interest you to note that only two Nigerians are on the board of the new foreign operators, a situation that tends to portray the state government as paying lip service to its self-imposed efforts at youth/human capital development objectives.”

Sulaiman added that “Information at our disposal indicates that the state government has provided public buildings valued at several billions of Naira in highbrow areas such as Ikoyi and Victoria Island (at public expense) as official residents of these foreign individuals, a gesture that was never extended to local players who have been cleaning up the state in the last 16 years.”

He concluded that “We are urging the Assembly to halt further action on the bill, failure in which we will be forced to invite the Economic, Financial and other Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to look at the details of the issues surrounding the intent of the bill.”

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