*PSP operators, traders differ on N17 million debt
Traders at Ladipo International Auto Spare Parts Market, Mushin, yesterday, seem to have woken up to their environmental duties to avert total closure of the multi-billion-naira market.
The Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), had on Friday, announced the closure of the popular market over sanitation infractions.
The government accused the traders of contravening repeated environmental warnings against indiscriminate dumping of junk auto parts.
The closure of the market was confirmed by Assistant Director of Public Affairs for LAWMA, Hakeem Akinleye, who lamented that the market leadership failed to redress the issue of environmental infractions despite warnings from the authority.
According to LAWMA, the market would remain shut until the traders turned a new leaf by adhering to environmental laws put in place to protect the environment and residents.
Akinyele added that the infractions could not be overlooked due to flagrant acts of improper waste disposal that could aid an outbreak of disease across the state.
However, The Guardian discovered yesterday that the closure was partial as trading activities continued in full force. Private Sector Participation (PSP), operators were busy cleaning up the drains and burning heaps of refuse in the market.
Some of the traders who spoke with The Guardian alleged that the agency only gave the notice to get some money from the traders, as they were constantly involved in the cleaning and maintenance of the market area.
A trader who spoke in confidence said: “I heard the closure was because of waste infractions but all of us are still trading. No one locked up our shops. We do observe our quarterly clean-up in this market whereby, we stop trading for some hours to clean the entire area. LAWMA just wanted some money from us.”
Another trader said: “We are aware our market was closed down, but you know Ladipo traders, it is hard for us to sit at home and observe anything like that. We must trade.”
Also, a trader who identified herself as Mama Twins, said: “The closure did not affect us. We are all running our businesses and attending to customers. The only thing obstructing business is that they placed a big metal waste bin on the road which trucks pass into the market, causing heavy traffic.”
Although President General, Ladipo Traders Association, Jude Nwankwo, refused to comment on the issue, the chairman of Mechanics, Papa Ajao branch, Hassan Eletu, said he was not aware of any debt as the body and by extension, the traders pay.
“We were told that we owe a lot of money, but I am not aware of any N17 million debt. As a chairman here, I make sure we pay as at when due. In fact, we have paid for the month of August.
“I got here this morning (yesterday) to see this heap of dirt in LAWMA containers placed on the road to prevent us from driving in.”
Asked about the dirt left in the market, he said: “We just need to look for solution regarding the dirt because the odour is offensive and becoming unbearable. We are aware of the situation in the country and the issue of Coronavirus. We can’t afford to face another disease.”
MEANWHILE, LAWMA’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, yesterday, threatened to effect total closure of the market if the traders remained recalcitrant on sanitation issues
He appealed to market leaders to shun indiscriminate dumping of refuse and other related environmental offences.
The agency assured residents that it would leave no stone unturned in making sure sanitation law defaulters were adequately penalised for their actions to serve as deterrence to others.
He also urged traders in markets across the state for their support in its efforts to rid the environment of waste pollution, adding that people should patronise assigned PSP operators and pay their waste bills promptly.
Source: The Guardian