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Socialist Democracy March 2004




Residents of Ajegunle in Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government area of Lagos State on the 18th February, 2004, staged a mass demonstration against the hike in refuse charges by the Lagos State imposed Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators who collect refuse in the area. The protest was sparked off by the recent obnoxious and astronomical rise in the refuse fee from N350 to N600 per compound per month, which amounts to N70 per room, and N100 per shop. In some cases, shops are to pay N500 and above.

The astronomical rise in the refuse fee was one of the attacks on the poor residents of the area by the Lagos State government. The idea of PSP operators started in 2002 in Lagos State by the Tinubu AD administration under the guise of cleaning up Lagos State. But every reasonable citizen of this state now knows that most of those licensed, as PSP operators are political jobbers and members of the AD that did not know anything about waste management.

Historically, the residents of Ajeromi-Ifelodun community disposed refuse through the cart pushers, even though, it is the primary responsibility of the local government under the 1999 constitution. With the introduction of the PSP operators, the Lagos state government outlawed the use of cart pushers in order to pave way for the PSP operators to exploit the working people.

Having started operation, the PSP operators, who had no knowledge of how to manage waste, usurped the cart pushers' means of livelihood. But the work of the so-called PSP operators has been so epileptic, ineffective and inefficient. They only collect the refuse in the households once or twice in a month. In the face of these frustrations, most members of the community have gone back to earlier method of disposing refuse through the more effective cart pushers.

Despite the non-patronage of the PSP operators by many of the residents, they still go ahead to forcefully extort the undeserved refuse fees with the help and backing of the local government officials. The PSP operators submit the addresses of compounds that have refused to pay the undeserved fees to the prosecutor of the customary court, whom in turn will issue court summons on such compounds. The police and the local government officials will then arrest residents of these compounds, who will only be released after thousands of naira had been extorted from them.

The unjust activities of the PSP operators and other state agents have compelled the working people of the area to massively resist and put an end to the provocative actions of the PSP operators and other state agents under the banner of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Community Movement (AICOM).

The community, through AICOM is demanding:

  • No to hike in refuse charges

  • No to advance payment

  • Recall of cart pushers and an end to further arrest and harassment.

  • The state organs local government officials, the Nigerian police and the prosecuting officers of the customary court should, henceforth, desist from extorting, harassing and oppressing residents of the community.

  • The local government should begin the process of taking over from the PSP operators its primary function of disposing refuse as stated in section 1(h) under the fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution.



Socialist Democracy March 2004