Officials of the Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) attached to Abaranje road, Custom bus stop, in Ikotun, locked homes of residents in the area for non-payment of their waste collection rates, denying them rights of entry and exit for almost 24 hours.
Decrying the action of the LAWMA officials, a landlord, who spoke on behalf of other affected houses and who pleaded for anonymity, queried the rationale behind the collection of the rates when residents hardly see the waste collectors come regularly to collect refuse.
The landlord said: “Nobody in this area is opposed to collection of rates by the government, but there should be justification for this. They don’t come regularly even when they are expected twice weekly.
“This year alone, my house has paid N18,000, yet they brought another N36,000 bill without reflecting the previous payment. It is not the money that matters, but accountability and satisfaction for services rendered.
“I don’t think this is how the government said they should carry out their duties. Something is wrong somewhere and this is overzealousness on the part of the officials. They are giving the government a bad image. That we live in Ikotun does not make us here inferior, because I don’t think they can just lock out residents of Ikoyi, Banana Island or Magodo for non-payment of rates,” he queried.
Another affected resident, Victor Obi, said: “There is need for government to curtail this inhuman treatment. Why would anybody lock out residents for any reason? We have not committed any crime and as such we don’t deserve this.”
He called on the Commissioner of Enviroment, Babatunde Adejare, to check activities of LAWMA in the area and make them operate with a human face, lamenting that many of the affected residents officials between N2,000 and N5,000 as penalty before their premises were unlocked.
When the agency was contacted, an officer who pleaded for anonymity said it was not true that their officials carried out the act as alleged. The officer, however, apologised to residents for the irregular services experienced, which is said is due to some reorganization in the waste management sector in the state.