Lagos State Government at the weekend warned market leaders across the State not to jeopardize its effort in averting flooding, saying any market found to be involved in indiscriminate dumping of waste to block drainages will be shut down.
The State government gave the warning at a one-day seminar organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) in Agege in collaboration with the State’s Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed and his counterpart, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr. Belinda Odeneye tasked market women and men on proper hygiene.
Ahmed in his welcome address said the need to revisit the issue of market sanitation and security has become imperative, considering the increase in population and waste generation in the State.
“The benefits and advantages of sanitation in our markets cannot be exhausted, considering the fact that we have three hundred and eighty-two registered markets in Lagos State.
“Drawing from the untoward incidents occurring everywhere, it will not be out of place, that vigilance and intelligence gathering should form part of our primary responsibility. This will help us to be proactive, and be steps ahead of anyone or groups, planning to disturb the peace of the State,” he said.
In her keynote address, Chairperson of COWLSO and wife of the State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, emphasised on hygiene and cleanliness in the market place, which according to her would engender a healthy environment.
Sanwo-Olu added that health and environment are intertwined and that this was why the issue of sanitation must be given the seriousness it truly and genuinely deserved to secure the health of the people.
She said it was a statement of fact that there is a nexus between the state of environment of a particular geographical location and the wellbeing of the people in such area.
“We know that a lot of waste is generated from our markets and as market leaders, it is important that we seize this opportunity to appeal to our market men and women to do away with unhygienic practices including indiscriminate dumping of waste, blocking of drainages and street trading, among others.
“The truth of the matter is that it is in our collective interest to imbibe international best practices in administering markets and protect our environment,” she said.
Sanwo-Olu stated that the issue of hygiene and cleanliness in markets was paramount, and that every important and necessary step must be taken by all stakeholders to inspire healthy and secured marketplace.
“Also, we have intentionally included security and safety of our markets as part of the topics at this seminar. First of all, security is everybody’s business and as market men and women and community leaders, we must be conscious of the need to make our security a priority. When we see something, we must say something!
“Security in the market place is paramount and there must be proper identification of all traders and people trading in the market. The Monitoring and Evaluation of security activities in the market must be a daily affair and also in every community,” she said.
The First Lady said as market men and women, they must take ownership of security in their markets and that like the #Sorosoke Generation, they have to speak up and speak out loud and clear when they suspect any suspicious movement or activity around them, especially the issue of strangers coming to sleep overnight in the market.
“These and many others, including fire outbreaks in the market must be addressed in order to protect the investments of the people, going forward,” she added.
Similarly, Iyaloja-General and Chairman, LASMAC, Chief (Mrs) Folashade Tinubu-Ojo while soeaking urged market leaders to insist on sanity in their markets by ensuring that market men and women are not allowed to extend their wares and produce beyond the allotted perimeters. She added that most markets are complicit of the act of placing their wares on pathways allotted for pedestrians. This she said does not only affect traffic, it also put market men and women at risk of accidents. She implored market leaders not to allow these acts in their markets.
MD, LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni in his address also assured market leaders and stakeholders that the State Government has equipped the agency with all the resources needed to ensure markets in Lagos are clean, promising that the agency would leave no stone unturned to ensure wastes in markets are promptly disposed.
Facilitators at the event which included CP, Mr Hakeem Odumosu represented by ACP Ola Agboola, Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs Margaret Adeseye and others urged market leaders to ensure sanitation and security are prioritised in our markets until our markets become a model for markets in Nigeria and in Africa at large.
The event which was attended by Local Government Chairmen of Ikeja division and major market stakeholders is one of the contributory efforts of the First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu through COWLSO to ensure markets in the State are clean and secure.
Mrs. Folashade Kadiri
Director, Public Affairs