The Lagos State House of Assembly has appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to reconsider the planned demolition of shanties and slums in riverine areas across the state.
The House made the plea following the presentation of a report by the Assembly’s ad hoc committee on the matter led by Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Petitions.
Residents residents of riverine areas in the state had staged a protest to the Assembly two weeks ago over the planned demolition of shanties.
They had urged the lawmakers to intervene and save them from the impending government action.
Presenting a report on the matter during plenary, Tejuosho (APC-Mushin I), said that the committee, during a visit to the areas, discovered that most buildings in the slums were sinking.
“We appreciate what the government is doing to make things better, not for them alone but for the people of the state.
“It is not conducive for them to continue to dwell there. However, I think we should crave the iindulgence of the governor to actually relocate these persons instead of throwing them into the street.
“If we allow this, they will go and congregate somewhere and the health hazard will not be easy to curtail,” she said.
Tejuosho advised Ambode to put in place a plan to relocate the slum dwellers before the demolition.
Other lawmakers, following the presentation, took turns to express divergent views on the issue..
In his comment, Mr David Setonji (APC-Badagry II) said that the residents should be properly relocated and not just sent away.
“These people are Nigerians; if we send them away they will go somewhere else and become security risk; lets treat them as fellow human beings,’’ he said.
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Agumbade, said that the matter should be properly considered, and that the House should look into what the plan of the government is.
“We should look at the pros and cons of the matter. It is better we hear the government out to see what plan they have,” he said.
However, Mr Moshood Oshun (APC- Mainland II) said that the residents were occupying the place illegally and were not government tenants to deserve relocation.
Mr Abiodun Tobun (APC- Epe I), who noted that the hallmark of any government was to enhance a cleaner, safer and conducive environment, also said that illegality should not be condoned.
“We must see how to move the state forward. We must ensure we take some decisive decisions. I symphathise with the slum dwellers, but we cannot compromise and allow what is not good in the state,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the House, Mrs Omotayo Oduntan also said that residents were occupying the place illegally.
“The state cannot condone such a thing; what is not legal is not legal,’’ she said..
Rounding up the debate, the Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said the House would set up a committee to look into the matter thoroughly.
Obasa urged the governor to give the House some time to know what to do on the matter.
“If previous governments had done what was expected, there won’t be shanties and slum dwellers today.
“Demolishing the shanties and slums would only raise other shanties and slums. It is giving them an opportunity to go out and start it somewhere.
“We appeal to the government to hold discussions with these people, and if need be, create a place where they can be resettled. We are not canvassing the government does this free,” he said.
Obasa, who noted that slums were everywhere, even in the U.S, said that the government should be able to manage them and put something in place that would phase out shanties.
He said that the government should consider those who were not employed, and reconsider the plan to move bulldozers to the areas to pull demolish the shanties and slums.
The speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Mr Sanni Azeez, to write a letter to Gov. Ambode, urging him to engage the slum dwellers, rather than demolishing their buildings. (NAN)
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’ with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.
By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
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