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Lagos State First Lady and Chairman of Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said adequate plans have been firmed up by the Committee to commence an environmental scheme to play up hygiene in markets across the state to ensure cleanliness and protect the health of residents.
Sanwo-Olu, who said this at a one-day seminar jointly organized by COWLSO and Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs on sanitation and security for market leaders in the State held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, disclosed that the pilot scheme of the programme would run for six months to complement the weekly sanitation exercise in markets in the state.
She recalled how COWLSO in the past had taken the issue of sanitation seriously with visits to several markets to ensure that traders ply their trade in hygienic, serene and comfortable environment, adding that it was important to reintroduce the programme in view of the fact that there is clear nexus between clean environment and health of the people.
“We are reintroducing the COWLSO environmental initiative but this time in collaboration with market leaders. We know that there is a weekly sanitation exercise in the markets across the state on Thursdays and we know that markets are usually very neat on those days.
“The administration of Mr Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is particular about the issue of health and the environment. In furtherance of that, we as a group have decided that we would partner with market women and men when they are doing their cleaning up on Thursdays to start our exercise.
“We are not taking over markets but collaborating with market men and women and we are going to do this as a pilot study for the next six months,” she said.
Recalling the outcome of 2019 National Women Conference of COWLSO which centered on ‘Unlearn, Learn and Relearn,’ Sanwo-Olu said to engender a clean environment especially in the markets requires the people to take ownership of the hygiene of their surroundings, and do away with acts that contribute to indiscriminate dumping of waste.
She particularly advised market leaders to provide designated area for waste and sewage system in their respective markets, ensure proper bagging and evacuation of waste, as well as discourage street market.
While urging the market leaders to embrace the Blue Box Programme of the State Government designed to encourage waste sorting from source of generation, the First Lady said it had been discovered that many residents were unaware of the huge business opportunity in gathering and selling waste product, especially plastic waste, just as she said that government was working on a reward system to celebrate leaders of cleanest markets in the state.
Also speaking, the Governor who was represented by Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello said it was time for market men and women to take the issue of hygiene more seriously.
“Just recently, a survey I conducted in the hospital reveal that a doctor attends to an average of 150 patients a day. That is unacceptable. If we want to reduce the number of visits to hospitals, it starts with proper hygiene from home and in the markets.
“Our market leaders must also now talk to their people to desist from acts that make the markets to be dirty. The present administration is particular about the issue of health and environment and we would do everything possible to secure the health of residents,” he said.
In her remarks, Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Hon Yetunde Arobieke said any market that fails to comply with rules of engagement such as operating without sewage system, portable water, and not adhering to closing time will henceforth be shut, and that it must be noted that the state government has zero tolerance for street market.
She also said that a market board would soon be constituted to properly regulate the activities of market men and women in the state.
The seminar was attended by various stakeholders including the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu; Chairmen of 57 councils and market leaders led by Iyaloja General, Chief (Mrs), Folasade Tinubu-Ojo.