Lagos Assembly urges Sanwo-Olu to probe highway workers protests

The Lagos House of Assembly has urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to investigate the recent protest by street sweepers engaged by Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) over non-payment of their salaries.

The resolution followed a motion,  entitled; “Need to Enhance Waste Management In Lagos State,” moved by Mr Desmond Elliot (Surulere Constituency I) during plenary on Monday.

Highway highway workers had on June 23 embarked on protest over non-payment of their three-month salaries.

The sweepers also took to social media to express their grievance.

In a video posted on Twitter, the sweepers were seen removing their uniforms and dumping them on the floor, which formed a huge pile.

Elliot said the House condemned those behind the videos that went viral on the issue of non-payment of their salaries.

The lawmaker urged the House to call on the governor and the Ministry of the Environment to look into it and bring the people behind it to book.

“The House should call on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the Commissioner, Ministry of Finance, Accountant General, State Treasury Office, the Commissioner, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

“Others are the Acting Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority and other relevant Agencies to expedite action on the payment of all outstanding allowances of the sweepers.

“Gov. Sanwo-Olu should direct the Commissioner, Ministry of Information and Strategy, in conjunction with the relevant agencies to sensitise members of the public on the need to dispose their refuse properly.

“The state government should also sensitise the public on the importance of having waste bin in their respective houses.

“The House should also mandate the Committee on the Environment to investigate the immediate and remote causes of these irregularities in LAWMA with a view to finding a lasting solution to the matter,” he said.

Elliot said the House was mindful of the modern technology means deployed by the state government to ensure a cleaner Lagos.

He said that the governor should mandate the Committee on the Environment to investigate the activities of LAWMA to make their job more effective.

Elliot said that the House also needed to commend the efforts of the state government on waste management in the state.

In his comment, the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said there was need to address the issues raised by the highway workers during the protest.

Obasa said the highway workers were employed to clean the roads based on humanitarian gesture of the state government.

The speaker said that the state government had the alternative of using mechanised ways of removing wastes in the state.

“The state can come up with mechanised ways of removing wastes. We also want to reduce crime, which was why we are doing the job manually.

“We should condemn those behind the video because there are many ways of making their grievances known.

“The issue started during the break out of COVID-19 and everybody was affected. Those behind the video should be brought to book. We should condemn those going to the media to embarrass the government.

“For those who played roles in the delay of the salaries of the sweepers, the committee should see how they could be held responsible,” he said.

Contributing, Mr Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu I), said that policing the canals and primary drainages in the state required more attention.

Mr Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho II), in his comment, said the matter should be investigated but  government should not stop the salaries of the highway workers in the process.

Also Speaking, Mr Ajani Owolabi (Lagos Mainland I), said that the pandemic slowed down efforts of the state government to deal with some issues.

Ajani said that the major challenge with wastes in the state had to do with plastic wastes.

“The roads are usually being flooded. We can monetise the plastic waste, and we can call on the governor to look at this in a way that we can monetise plastic wastes,” he said.

Also, Mr Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa II), said the state government should not ignore the viral video where the highway workers where protesting non-payment of their salaries.

Yishawu, however, supported the motion that their salaries should be paid.

He said that the highway workers were among the frontline workers that worked during the lockdown, and that the matter should be investigated as suggested in the third leg of the resolution.

The speaker, therefore, passed the motion through voice votes which was supported by all the lawmakers present in the House.

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