LASG Takes Environmental Sanitation Crusade To The Waterways
• As Fashola announces global insurance healthcare scheme for street sweepers, highway managers
Aug 12, 2010 - Following the resounding success of its street sweeping and highway management initiative, the Lagos State Government has extended the operations to the State's waterways with about 300 workers already employed for the job.
The State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who disclosed this Thursday at the flag off of a one-day Awareness and Sensitization workshop for Street Sweepers and Highway Managers, with the theme "Cleaner Lagos; Safety First", said the sweepers are to sweep and keep the waterways free from waste materials which are the major cause of flooding in the State.
Addressing thousands of street sweepers and highway managers, including some physically challenged employees of the State's Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), at the LTV 8 Blue Roof Hall venue of the Workshop, Governor Fashola said more people would be employed as the Government extends the service to more waterways across the State adding that those being engaged are those experienced in handling such assignments on water.
Governor Fashola disclosed that he has directed that all street sweepers and highway managers in the State be enrolled as part of the Global Insurance Healthcare Scheme for all public officers in the State Government adding that these are some of the ways to demonstrate Government's appreciation of their work.
Describing the street sweepers and highway managers as "critical champions of change", Governor Fashola declared, "You are representatives of the resolve of the people of Lagos to change what they do not accept", adding, "If our State is cleaner today, if our State is more prosperous today, if our State is safer today, it couldn't have happened without your contribution".
"For me, some people see street sweepers, I see icons of change; some people see street sweepers, but I see builders of enormous possibilities; some people see street sweepers, but I see champions of our drive as hardworking people of Lagos to change that which we do not accept; some people see street sweepers, I see critical contributors to the change that we all want to make in Lagos", the Governor said.
He noted that whereas all the other components of healthcare delivery constitute just 20 percent of the total healthcare system, the environment alone constitutes the remaining 80 per cent, pointing out that the state of the environment determines, to a large extent, the quality of life of the people.
"What happens in the environment, water supply, how waste is managed, determine to a large extent the quality of our lives. Therefore, you are as important as the doctors and nurses", Governor Fashola told the sweepers and highway managers adding, "What you do or fail to do will have an impact on how long I and you and all the people here can live".
According to the Governor, aside from keeping the streets and bridges clean, the sweepers also help in the prosperity of Lagos by creating a new economy which has the capacity to grow beyond the immediate foreseeable future, especially, in terms of employment generation.
"You are not just street sweepers; you are critical members of the value change to our quality of life. Apart from keeping our streets clean, this is a whole economy", the Governor said pointing out that with over 10, 000 people employed in the job, tailors had been kept busy making their uniforms while the boots, hand gloves and other accessories are being supplied by people. "All these people are part of the economy of Lagos and I see that economy getting bigger", he said.
Other job opportunities being created by the street sweepers, the Governor noted, include keeping the factories, such as plastic and glass factories, working as they use the bottles and plastics collected by the sweepers as raw material for the manufacture of glass and plastic products thereby keeping people on their jobs and employing more workers.
Hinting of Government's intention to harness the renewable energy resource of waste materials, Governor Fashola declared, "I see a future whereby this economy will grow beyond our expectation. This is an economy that has the capacity to take more than what you can see today. You are the champions of change, but a lot of changes still lie ahead", the Governor said.
On the impact of the street sweeping and highway management initiative on the image of the State both locally and internationally, Governor Fashola noted with pride that the State has become the cynosure of many eyes pointing out that as a result of the good job of the street sweepers, Lagos has warn awards as the cleanest capital in Nigeria.
He pointed out that the members of the State Executive Council are being invited both locally and internationally to give talks on their waste management experience while others visit the State for the same purpose. "All these visits, both locally and internationally, would not have been possible without your commitment and dedication to duty", he said.
Commending all the other agencies and organizations whose works affect LAWMA such as Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and others for their efforts in reducing to the barest minimum the number of accidents to street sweepers in the last one year, the Governor pledged, "We are determined it becomes a thing of the past", adding that this determination informed the theme of this year's workshop.
In his goodwill message, Cardinal James Omolaja Odunbaku paid glowing tribute to Governor Fashola for the initiative to employ street sweepers and highway managers pointing out that Lagos would not have attained its present environmental status without the Governor who, according to him, "has a vision and a mission; a Governor who does not take no for an answer, a Governor who does not need to campaign again".
Also giving his goodwill message, the Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, commended the Governor for his commitment, capacity building initiatives and also for growing the economy of Lagos. He also congratulated the management of LAWMA for the good job it is doing in the State adding, "What the sweepers are doing is worthy of not only Government's reward but also God's reward".
The Unit Commander of the Lagos Sector of the FRSC, Mr. Jonas Agu, in his goodwill message, thanked Governor Fashola, "for his vision and also those who have bought into that vision", pointing out that without the people buying into the vision, it would not have materialized.
Two physically challenged employees of LAWMA who sweep some pedestrian bridges in the city also gave goodwill messages in Yoruba and Hausa languages thanking the Governor for giving them the opportunity to be gainfully employed.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire described the sweepers as the true faces of Eko oni baje, adding, "They are the people making us proud and ensuring that Lagos remains on top".
He thanked the Governor for his support at all times pointing out that Lagos has become the cynosure of all eyes both locally and internationally while the members of the Government are being inundated with call and invitations by other state government to share their experience with them.
Also in his welcome remarks earlier, the Managing director of LAWMA, Mr. Ola Oresanya listed some of the major achievements of LAWMA to include reduction in crime, reduction in cases of poor sanitation or hygiene related diseases, contribution to the increase in the State's GDP and access to cooperative loans for poverty reduction among others.
Highlight of the event included the award of certificates to best street sweeper and highway managers and supervisors as well as the donation of wheel chairs to some physically challenged LAWMA workers.
Also present at the occasion were the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Ajoke Orelope-Adefulire, other members of the State Executive Council, representative of the Oba of Lagos and other Traditional Rulers as well as other top government functionaries.