Between PSPs And Banned Cart Pushers: Lagosians Complain | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Between PSPs And Banned Cart Pushers: Lagosians Complain

Posted: Jun 2, 2015 at 12:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  Nkasiobi Oluikpe  –  Lagos


In 2010, the Lagos State government banned its residents from patronizing cart pushers for the disposition of their waste. Though they were banned, they still operated skeletal services up till the first quarter of 2012 when the law enforcement agents began descending heavily on them.

The reason put forward by the Lagos State government for its action was accepted by some right thinking Lagosians as quite tenable, because according to them, the cart pushers indiscriminately disposed their refuse at unauthorised sites, especially inside the drainages and canals.

Because the cart pushers operated for their daily income, they had no scheduled time table. If you had their contact, you could call them at any material time to come and help you to dispose your refuse. But with time and the law banning them in Lagos State, they fizzled out.

Not only did the Lagos State government ban them, they went on to inform residents that it was against the rule to patronise cart pushers, saying that would amount to flouting the laws, in other words, not only is the cart pusher culpable, but you will also be held guilty for engaging their services.

Directive to Patronise the Private Sector Participation

Lagosians were then asked to both pay their bills regularly and also patronise the Private Sector Participation (PSP). At that initial stage, the PSPs were up and doing. Every Saturday they were all over the neighbourhoods blaring their horns and ringing bells to call out residents who do not have their refuse outside. Not only that, they don’t leave a mess after doing their jobs. People thumbed up for the then administration for its various strides at making Lagos a megacity. The only sign of their presence then, was the stench they leave behind, but the PSPs ensured that they picked every piece of litter on the road as they moved.


Present Situation

As it stands presently, the story has changed a whole lot. Lagosians are beginning to question the rationale behind banning of cart pushers. The PSPs, they complain, come around either on Sanitation Saturdays or even once in six weeks, making it near impossible to maintain a healthy hygiene.


Stakeholders Comments

A passer-by around Ogba while beholding the site of a refuse dump was busy pouring curses on LAWMA,  saying that what makes the whole scenario more annoying was the fact that the bills have increased by 50 per cent.

The man complained that originally, the refuse monthly bill for a flat was N500, but that they presently bill N750 per flat, notwithstanding the size of the refuse. With the new rate, what then stops them from doing their jobs, he asked.

The situation is not just peculiar to a particular area alone. Eno Enang, a resident of Abule Egba complained that government will always start what they know they cannot finish. She said that the roads in her area were so bad, that in all honesty, it will be difficult for any truck to ply them without breaking down.

She then remarked, “We are not saying that they must come over to pick our refuse. Our anger is, why did they ban those ‘kole kole’ (cart pushers) from operation. Those people don’t mind, they will step on those ‘potopoto’ (mud) and come and carry our dust bin and we will pay them.  They have succeeded in intimidating and putting fears into those people and now they themselves cannot take over the jobs that these cart pushers were doing. We are even warned not to burn the refuse; at least, that would have reduced the heap to an extent. Even the cellophane bags used to pack this refuse have torn because of rats that force themselves inside it to feed.

A scenario unfolded at Ifako Ijaiye when one of the officials of LAWMA came to distribute the bill. When he knocked at the gate of one of the houses, a woman came out to open and he handed the bill over to her. The woman asked him, Oga, they brought NEPA bill yesterday, which bill is this one that you are bringing again. The man responded, Madam, this is not NEPA bill, its from LAWMA. The woman screamed, which LAWMA is that, do you bring bill for doing nothing. For more than a month now, you people have not been here and you are bringing one nonsensical bill. The man then said, Madam, how can you say we have not been coming. Our people have been coming here. To cut the matter short, the man pleaded with the woman and assured her that they will come around.

According to the woman, before the week ran out, they came around and disposed all the refuse on the street. Not only did they come, they ensured they attached a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member that made sure she signed as a proof that they were there.

Adding his voice to the legions of complaints, Muyiwa Aderanti (not real names) also indicated that the absence of the PSPs made nonsense of the monthly sanitation programme.

“You discover that it would have been better if we had not come out to clean up the gutters in the first place.


Excuse by PSP drivers

On two different occasions, this reporter walked up to the PSP truck drivers wanting to know why they have not been coming around as before. The first response was that their truck broke down. On another occasion, the driver said that his truck found it very difficult to make a u-turn at the end of the street, despite the fact that the street was tarred. So, when they come at all, they remain at the beginning of the street and take off from there.

This reporter then asked, if that is the case, why don’t your men go round ringing their bells so that those who can push their garbages to the beginning of the street can bring them down. The driver did not respond.


Skip trucks as remedy….yet

Some few years ago, the then Lagos state honourable Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello, commissioned some skip trucks to be manned solely by female graduates of the ministry at the Ogudu zonal office of LAWMA.  These skip trucks, according to him, were to complement the activities of the heavy compactor trucks that cannot access the inner streets and corners. The capacity of the skip truck appears like a flash in the pan to the quantity of refuse in these inner streets.

In his address, he stated: “We believe that the injection of these new skip trucks into the waste management task will help, in no small measure, in fast-tracking the level of job being done by our personnel in this sector who are majorly graduate female operators, thus signifying the women empowerment initiative. The skip trucks we are launching today has a hydraulic working capacity of 3000KG work load and suitable for handling 4.5 cubic metre containers, with an operating pressure of not more than 140kg.  It makes use of garbage loading by tipping the container from 45 to 50 degrees with a 60 litre hydraulic tank capacity.


Plea of Lagosians

As it stands right now, Lagos alone is said to generate 12,000 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis. With the persistent breaking down of the PSP trucks, there is no doubt, they need more assistance. Lagosians do appreciate the efforts of the government in dealing with this size of refuse on a daily basis, but are asking that government reconsider their decision on prohibition of cart pushers.

They are appealing to the newly inaugurated administration of Akinwunmi Ambode to look for ways of integrating the cart pushers into the state’s waste management system for effective evacuation of refuse. If they are well regulated and given the right orientation, there is no doubt, they will complement the activities of the PSPs and cases of disposing the content of their carts at unauthorized places will no longer exist.