Lagos govt, COWLSO to partner market leaders on sanitation, security

• Street traders advised to shun act

Lagos State government and the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) on Tuesday expressed readiness to partner with market men and women in the state to ensure cleanliness of the various markets in the state as well as guarantee adequate security of those places in line with the THEMES Agenda of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

The agenda is focused on Traffic Management & Transportation; Health & Environment; Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy; Entertainment & Tourism; Security & Good Governance.

Wife of the Lagos State Governor and Chairman of COWLSO, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, stated this at a seminar on ‘Market Sanitation and Security for Market Leaders’ in Lagos State in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs.

The event was attended by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Oluremi Hamzat; Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello; top government functionaries, the Iyaloja-General, Folasade Tinubu-Ojo and other stakeholders.

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The governor’s wife said adequate plans had been firmed up by the committee to commence an environmental scheme to play up hygiene in markets across the state to ensure cleanliness and protect the health of residents, disclosing that the pilot scheme of the programme would run for six months to complement the weekly sanitation exercise in markets in the state.

Dr Sanwo-Olu, who recalled how COWLSO in the past had taken the issue of sanitation seriously with visits to several markets to ensure that traders ply their trade-in hygienic, serene and comfortable environment, argued that it was important to reintroduce the programme in view of the fact that there was clear nexus between clean environment and health of the people.

According to her: “We are reintroducing the COWLSO environmental initiative but this time in collaboration with market leaders. We know that there is a weekly sanitation exercise in the markets across the state on Thursdays and we know that markets are usually very neat on those days.

“The administration of Mr Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, is particular about the issue of health and the environment. In furtherance of that, we as a group have decided that we would partner with market women and men when they are doing their cleaning up on Thursdays to start our exercise.

“We are not taking over markets but collaborating with market men and women and we are going to do this as a pilot study for the next six months.”

The governor’s wife noted that Lagos generated about 10,000 tonnes of waste daily due to its huge population and the need for COWLSO to support government in ensuring that over 2,000 markets in the state were kept clean to achieve cleaner environment, hinted that enlightenment campaigns would be stepped up across the state and in schools, to catch students young, especially with the Blue Box Initiative of the state government.

She said the approach would encourage proper sorting of waste for recycling, which in turn, could boost the economic power of individuals, noting that it had been discovered that many residents were unaware of the huge business opportunity in gathering and selling a waste product, especially plastic waste.

Recalling the outcome of 2019 National Women Conference of COWLSO which centred on ‘Unlearn, Learn and Relearn,’ Dr Sanwo-Olu said to engender a clean environment especially in the markets required the people to take ownership of the hygiene of their surroundings, and do away with acts that contributed to indiscriminate dumping of waste.

Besides, she disclosed that the government was working on a reward system to celebrate leaders of cleanest markets in the state.

Also speaking, the Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Bello, said it was time for market men and women to take the issue of hygiene more seriously, even as he said that the present administration was particular about the issue of health and environment and would do everything possible to secure the health of residents.

“Just recently, a survey I conducted in the hospital revealed that a doctor attends to an average of 150 patients a day. That is unacceptable. If we want to reduce the number of visits to hospitals, it starts with proper hygiene from home and in the markets.

“Our market leaders must also now talk to their people to desist from acts that make the markets to be dirty. The present administration is particular about the issue of health and environment and we would do everything possible to secure the health of residents,” he said.

In her remarks, Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Hon Yetunde Arobieke, said any market that failed to comply with rules of engagement such as operating without a sewage system, portable water, and not adhering to closing time would henceforth be shut, declaring that the state government had zero tolerance for the street market.

She revealed that a market board would soon be constituted to properly regulate the activities of market men and women in the state.

The seminar was also attended by various stakeholders, including the State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu; Chairmen of 57 councils and market leaders.

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