Operators of domestic and commercial wastes in Lagos State are already in court to stop the government from displacing them or replacing them with new operators through the guise of reform.
In a suit filed on their behalf at a Lagos High Court by Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, the PSP operators, urged the court to urgently uphold and protect their existing rights and benefits so that the government will not appoint new operators to replace them.
Listed as defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Government, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Commissioner for the Environment, the proposed foreign operators and their local agents–namely Visionscape Group, Visionscape Santiation Solutions Limited, and ABC Sanitation Solutions Limited.
Adegboruwa, a human rights lawyer said:
If the government’s resolutions are implemented to the letter, the regime of refuse heaps may soon return to the state.
In their 77 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Olabode Coker, the Chairman of the Association of Waste Managers, the operators stated that they had helped Lagos State to rid the state of refuse spanning several years of investments in human and material resources, which had also involved professional trainings and education.
The association, comprising over 350 PSP operators, asked the court to restrain any foreign operator, and their local agents, from taking over the collection, disposal and management of domestic solid waste in all areas of Lagos State.
Adegboruwa maintained that
The operators claimed that Lagos State had encouraged them in the past to improve their operations through acquisition of modern trucks, for which many of them obtained loans from banks with huge interest rates and the consideration was to be using the resources generated from the waste operations to service the said loans, and they have built offices in various parts of Lagos State for the smooth administration of their operations.
They also claimed to have been operating at a loss because of the refusal of Lagos State Government to enact a legislation that will facilitate the enforcement of collection of dues.
The PSP had contended in the suit that the location and dilapidated state of the dumpsites make the operations of waste disposal burdensome as trucks have to wait for hours in order to discharge waste, leading to congestion and the bad roads leading to the dumpsites have caused refuse trucks to break down very often, with huge costs of maintenance.