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Stakeholders thumb-up bid to amend laws to empower LAWMA

Stakeholders in the environment sector in Lagos State on Thursday, May 16, 2019 lauded the state House of Assembly for proposing an amendment to the environmental law to empower the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

Lagos State House of Assembly
The Lagos State House of Assembly in session

The stakeholders gave the commendation at a One-Day Public Hearing on “A Law to Amend the Environmental Management and Protection Law, 2017,’’ organised by the House Committee on the Environment, headed by Mr Dayo Saka-Fafunmi (APC-Ifako-Ijaiye I).

According to the stakeholders, such step is apt and timely to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment in the state following the failure of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative.

Mr Olugbenga Adebola, an environmentalist, said: “I will like to commend the proactive Lagos State House of Assembly members for this amendment.

“For a long part of 2016 and 2017, we had a big issue in the environment family. It is good that more power be given to LAWMA as the regulator. I hope LAWMA should be able to manage this. I commend the House.’’

Adebola urged the House not to jettison the private sector in the board’s constitution and look into cost recovery level, and enforcement.

Mr Kadiri Shamusideen, a safety expert, who also commended the House for the amendment, called for efforts on the health and safety of PSP operators in the field.

Shamusideen, Executive Director, Safety Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation, decried various unsafe practices of the operators on the highways, trucks and dump sites, which was corroborated by another expert, Mr Adegbenro Adu.

Mr Olalekan Owojori, a consultant to PSP, who noted that waste management was service-oriented, called the House to look into how money for the services rendered by the operators would get to them.

Owojori, who frowned at PSP depending on government bureaucracy before getting money for the services provided, called for a system that would allow the service providers to be remunerated.

Mr Adedotun Oriowo, a PSP operator, said: “I salute the House for the impeccable sense of responsibility. We are here to right some wrongs of the outgoing Lagos State government.

“The Cleaner Lagos Initiative distorted waste management operations in Lagos State. It should be expunged from waste management in Lagos State.’’

In his contribution, Mr Ola Oresanya, the Chief Executive Officer of LAWMA, said: “If the law is wrong, everything will be wrong.

“I want to thank the Chairman of the committee for this painstaking effort to correct the wrong. The intendment of this amendment is genuine and germane.’’

According to Oresanya, the authority would submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), especially on the functions of Public Utilities Monitoring and Assurance Unit (PUMAU) bordering waste management and revenue collection.

Mr Idowu Salau, a consultant with the Federal Government on waste management, who commended the House, harped on cost recovery and identified user charge system and property charge system.

In his comment, Mr Ola Egbeyemi, President of the Association of Waste Managers (AWAN), thanked the House “for this noble gesture’’.

“We have good laws, but those laws are found ineffective because of enforcement. We should thank the lawmakers for revisiting this controversial law that have caused a lot of retrogression,’’ Egbeyemi said.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Committee, Saka Fafunmi, said that extant law passed in 2017 could not meet expectations as discovered during impact assessment analysis.

“We cannot have a law that is not serving the interest of Lagos and that is why we propose several amendments. The amendment essentially bothers more on LAWMA law.

“As at when the law was made, we were looking at having a concessionaire-an operator that will take over the waste management of Lagos.

“No sooner had the law was passed we realised that it was not something that could stand the test of time here. We have decided to revert to our ways of doing it.

“That is why we are empowering the PSP and every other stakeholder in environment. We must empower LAWMA and take away concessionaire,’’ he said.

OMajority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade said that the proposed amendment affected only 48 sections of the 526-section extant law.

Agunbiade said that the House had a penchant to monitor laws passed and conducts impact assessment and whenever a shortcoming was noticed, an amendment would be sought to make it conform to realities.

Earlier, in his keynote address, the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashirun Obasa, represented by his deputy, Mr Waaiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said that the intention of the House is to improve the environment and make waste management in Lagos State seamless.

By Yemi Adeleye

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