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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

CDHR, CSOs want effective engagement of Lagos citizens in implementation of environmental laws

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), in collaboration with the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has encouraged the Lagos State Government to constructively engage citizens of the state in fashioning environmental laws in the state.

Environmental laws
L – R: Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Kunle Adeshina; representative of DG of LASEPA, Mr. Olakunle Adegunoye; and Philip Jakpor, Executive Director of Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI)

They made the call at a maiden monthly stakeholders’ interactive roundtable on public policy making and execution organised by CDHR and CACOL.

The roundtable, which held on Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Lagos, had “Lagos State Environmental Laws: Implications and effect on human and socio-economic rights of the people” as its theme.

The event had in attendance members of the civil society, trade unions and the media and representatives of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, among others, and served as an avenue to cross-fertilise ideas on the environmental laws in Lagos especially the gaps in state-citizens and engagement.

Executive Director of Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI), Philip Jakpor, who was one of the discussants, said the state environmental policies still lacked human face, drawing his conclusions from the eviction of citizens of the state from communities such as Otodogbame, the states’ water privatisation plans as well as the systematic eviction of residents of Makoko.

Jakpor pointed out that government is the same all over the world and will never accede to the demands of citizens except they adopted ingenious strategies of compelling government to listen such as peaceful protests, legal options and constructive use of the media.

In her remarks, the Chief Legal Officer, Lagos State Waste Management Agency, Adeyemo Oluwabukola, stated that the illegal dumping of waste in the state is caused by the public’s unwillingness to pay for private sector partnerships and urged the public to educate one another on appropriate waste disposal.

“We have over 420 private sector waste collectors in Lagos. During the time of (Governor Femi) Fashola, we were all complying, but now we have refused to pay the PSP, and that is why we are disposing illegally, and it is what we give to the environment that it gives back. We appeal that we all enlighten our people about proper waste disposal.”

Earlier, the Lagos Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, had said that the Lagos government recognised the pivotal role that the environment plays in shaping the quality of lives of citizens and the sustainability of communities.

The commissioner also said the state government regularly engaged citizens and that the environmental laws are designed to protect the health of citizens hence they will be enforced to the letter.

Dr Debo Adeniran of CACOL, who threw the event open, said the convening was a platform for healthy exchange of ideas between the state and citizens.

Adeniran urged the Federal Government to adopt environment-friendly laws to ensure healthy living for Nigerians.

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