…As Apapa resident begs NPA to protect them from epidemic!***
The National Vice-President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Collins Farinto on Sunday kicked against the continuous dumping of refuse at the entrance of the Apapa Seaport in Lagos, expressing serious concerns on possible development of its health implications on the public.
Farinto highlighted this in Lagos, even as a resident in Apapa pleaded with the Nigerian Ports Authority, to protect them from possible epidemic disease.
The Nigerian Ports Authority cleared its Apapa Port’s area gate on Thursday, after an intimidating dump, which accumulated for about seven weeks.
Farinto called for a complete stop to the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the area, describing it as an embarrassment to the country, considering the importance of the port to the nation’s economic development.
He also noted the gradually mounting refuse heap within the Tin Can Island, hinting that the various departments that were supposed to be responsible for the removal of the refuse must have abandoned their duties.
“None of the government officials responsible for the removal of the refuse has been sanctioned and if this persists for the next one month, there may be an outbreak of epidemic within Apapa area.’’
He pleaded with the government to provide refuse bins and public toilets within and around the ports, markets, bus stops and other public places, stressing that such measure would stop the indiscriminate dumping of refuse and open defecation within the ports area by the public.
Farinto said that the challenge of refuse clearing within the ports was beyond the local government and urged the Federal and the Lagos State Governments to urgently intervene.
Meanwhile, a resident in Apapa has also on Sunday pleaded with the Nigerian Ports Authority to re-energize its Health and Safety Department to ensure that the Apapa Port’s environment was made clean.
“The two places that make meaningful impact to foreigners are the Air Port and the Sea Port. What do we gain if the airport is clean and the seaport is this dirty?” he asked, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Even if the epidemic comes down, the workers in Apapa cannot immediately feel it. Anyone that gets ill; would naturally stay at home; and Nigeria is very poor in keeping statistics, let alone, relate such data for other important purposes. We should not wait until it seeps into the residential areas; that is why we are begging them!” he explained further.
However, the Chairman of Apapa Local Government, Mr Owolabi Adele, said that the council in conjunction with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), had started clearing the refuse within the ports and the entire Apapa area.
Adele said that the clearance commenced on Friday, Sept. 20, saying that almost 90 per cent of the refuse had been removed.
“Some of the trucks parked along the port access road are usually giving us nightmare because the comtractor often finds it difficult to access the refuse.
“This is as a result of indiscriminate parking of trucks around Apapa metropolis,” Adele said.
According to him, this is slowing the clearing; in fact, the council has been settling quarrels between LAWMA officials and the truck drivers.
“The council will be doing more of enlightenment with the new initiative by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the Blue Box initiative of recycling waste.
“There have been mass production of the blue boxes that will be distributed to the respective local governments in the state,” the local government boss said.
Adele also noted that stakeholders had supported the council to enforce the law on environmental sanitation to reduce indiscriminate dumping of refuse to the barest minimum.