The Lagos State Government has said it is not planning to privatise its Water Corporation, contrary to speculation that it is partnering with a financial institution to sell the corporation.

The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare disclosed this at the October 2016 Monthly Press Briefing of the Ministry of the Environment, organized to provide adequate information on the state of the environment.

Adejare stated that rather than privatizing, the state government would be partnering with the private sector to build water works under a Public Private Partnership arrangement in which the private sector partner would build and charge reasonable amount.

He said that this move became necessary as the cost of building single water works had skyrocketed due to the exchange rate volatility, whereas government has limited resources with competing needs across sectors.

“We cannot afford to stick to the status-quo as we are battling with vector-borne diseases and we need to sort out the issue of appropriate pricing. Currently Water Corporation charges 5k per liter against N100 per liter charged by the local water vendor”, he said.

While re-stating the policy of Lagos State Government on cleaner and sustainable environment, the Commissioner said government was committed to the removal of all environmental infractions and would not relent in bringing about a sustainable environment as well as a livable state to enhance aesthetically beautiful state.

According to him, “…our government has pursued with vigour, its policy on cleaner and sustainable environment through dogged application of its all-year round de-flooding Programme, unwavering commitment to the removal of all environmental infractions and nuisances across the state and steady pursuit of aesthetically appealing state.”

Adejare said that Lagos State Government was committed to achieving well-organised markets where sellers, goods and services will be sectorised. According to him, “this will eliminate the belief and tendency that it is when goods are sold on the streets and on setbacks that selling can be achieved”

The Commissioner reaffirmed the policy of zero tolerance on street trading and hawking in the state, warning violators of the state’s environmental laws to desist or incur the wrath of the law.

He stated that no one was permitted to convert the roads, medians, set-backs and walkways into markets, warning that the activities of street traders and hawkers were degrading the environment.

Adejare maintained that water supply in the state was being given a new lease of life as most of the water works such as Ishasi, Adiyan and Iju Waterworks now produce and supply uninterrupted water to Lagosians upon the repairs of equipment and restoration of Power supply, saying government is finding a lasting solution to billing problems as well.

Adejare restated the commitment of government to greening the environment. He said over 800 trees including 700 coconuts have been planted along Lekki Epe Express way and another 100 trees at Orile Agege LCDA. According to him, “the importance of trees in our environment cannot be overemphasized. As such we have continued to manage trees planted in the state by pruning 56 Trees and felling 7 trees to improve the aesthetics of the Environment.”

The Commissioner pointed out that waste management would take a new dimension in the state as from 2017. “We are reforming waste management; we are no longer going to do it the way we are used to. By the time we do this, environmental infractions would have reduced.”

The Environment Commissioner said that government is poised to control and eradicate diseases such as Lasa fever and malaria through the flagging off of vector control programme. “To control vector-borne diseases such as Lasa fever and malaria, we have flagged off the vector control programme through which we will be delivering effective “deratization” of markets and adjoining streets in the State with the use of time tested technology,” the Commissioner said.

He further said that government would take the advantage of the many benefits of vector control, including less illness, better sleep, safety of home, buildings and markets and ultimately peace of mind.

Adejare disclosed that the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of the Environment did not fail its duties of monitoring the environment for compliance to environmental standards.
“The Lagos State Waste Management Office monitored compliance to wastewater regulations and guidelines in 11,508 tenements and 857 private facilities across the State. 3,549 tenements were found to be satisfactory while 4,511 tenements complied with the abatement notices served. Also, a total of 255 private wastewater treatment facilities are currently undergoing the recertification exercise for 2016.

The commissioner appealed to Lagosians to dispose waste properly and maintain a good sanitary attitude as the yuletide approached. According to him, “… the ember months are here again and as the yuletide approaches, I urge you all to dispose waste properly, cultivate and maintain good sanitary attitude and do not contribute to the degrading of the environment as this is the only way you can avoid being object of environmental law enforcement.”

By: Bennett Oghifo

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