Lagos – Oshodi Communities Meet over Exploitation by Waste Management Operators
Above photo of some of the participants in front of the dilapidated Wahab Larinde Primary School in Oshodi
JAF and DSM Members Join them in Solidarity
By DSM Reporters
As part of the plan to sensitise and mobilise community people on the need for a nationwide resistance against the government’s various anti-poor policies, members of Joint Action Front (JAF) attended a meeting of Concerned Residents of Oshodi, Mafoluku and Shogunle Community (OMSC) in Lagos on Saturday July 1, 2023. Members of the DSM were part of the JAF team.
The OMSC, according to the residents, was formed in August 2022 in response to the “illegal increment and exploitation” by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and its private sector participation (PSP) operators. The residents of these communities, especially Mofoluku, have a rich history of struggle against exploitation especially by the electricity distribution company.
During the meeting, attended by around 50 people, residents highlighted the constant attacks faced by the community, such as illegal and outrageous waste disposal charges by Excellens Links and Tunpa, a private sector operator in the local government.
Some of the residents decried the arbitrary increments in charges by the operator. For instance, households’ waste charges are increased for the most absurd reasons such as challenging the operators for the cost and quality of their services. They also mentioned the use of police to intimidate some of the community leaders and activists who have the courage to mobilise residents against the unjust billing practices employed by waste disposal operators and Ikeja Electricity Distribution company.
This exploitation has forced the community people to resort to a legal and political struggle against the waste management agency and the operator. However, the struggle, they noted, is now expanding to include the demand for good roads and other basic essentials that would make the community very livable.
Abiodun Aremu, JAF secretary, encouraged the residents to be steadfast and united in their struggle and emphasized that when ‘working people unite to say yes, nobody can say no’. He pledged the support of JAF to their struggle and explained the link between their struggle and the need for an overall nationwide resistance against anti-poor policies of the current government and for a system change.
Peluola Adewale (Pelad), Moshood HO and Gideon Adeyeni, all of the DSM, at different points in their contributions reiterated how the basic needs of working people can only be won and sustained through struggle.
Pelad, who is also the national mobilisation officer of JAF, stressed that the struggle against the capitalist attacks unleashed by the new government such as hike in petrol price as well as the planned hikes in school fees and electricity tariff is a struggle for all the working people and youth regardless of political affiliation or support in the just past election. Moshood shared experience of how his own community, Ajegunle, has had to wage similar struggles as the OMSC which has resulted in some gains. Gideon described the struggle as part of a bigger national and global struggle against the domination of the 1% and commercialization of life’s essentials, “which is what capitalism is about”, concluding that the struggle should be seen correctly as being connected to the struggle for the socialist transformation of Nigeria and our world.
The meeting concluded with the gathering resolving to expand the scope of its struggles to demand better schools, good roads et cetera, and be part of resistance against anti-poor capitalist policies of the government whenever it breaks out.
Members of the DSM and JAF present were taken round the Wahab Larinde Primary School which was the venue of the meeting, to give an idea of the condition of public facilities in the area. Despite a notice of recent renovation boldly written on the walls of some of the classroom blocks, the classrooms and offices are in deplorable conditions.
Ten copies of the Socialist Democracy, paper the DSM, were sold, while about fifty copies of DSM’s leaflet – challenging the criminal hike in petrol price and calling upon the working people to fight for reversal – were shared.
The residents expressed gratitude and willingness to host more of such public sensitisation meetings in the coming period.