A Lagos Division of the Lagos High Court on Tuesday directed the state government and the private waste operators (known as Private Sector Participant, PSP) to settle their dispute within two weeks.
Justice Oyekan Abdullahi gave the directive after listening to counsel for the PSP operators, human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, who chronicled the frustrations of the operators as that of investors who have spent time and money to partner with Lagos State for a cleaner Lagos, only to end up being dumped by the government for a preferred foreign investor.
Mr. Adegboruwa told the court that several letters have been written to the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to which they have not received any positive response, even though the operators are always open to dialogue.
Responding, S.A. Quadri, who represented Lagos State, countered the waste operators’ arguments by stating that the government was always open and ready to dialogue with them.
He said even as of Monday, a meeting was to hold between the operators and the Commissioner for Environment.
Having listened to all counsel, the judge directed all the parties and their counsels to meet urgently, to discuss and resolving all pending issues.
The judge noted further that it would seem that refuse heaps have found their ways back into the city again, to which the waste operators responded that even in the face of extreme provocation from the government, they have continued to perform their duties of waste collection and disposal.
“The executives of the PSP operators, I want you to hear the government out first, you have to listen to the government first to know what the motive of the government is,” the judge said.
“You have to listen to the commissioner and hold a meeting with him.”
The judge stated that the laws establishing the court permits judges to encourage settlement of disputes between the parties, in consequence of which she directed the executive members of the waste collectors association to write their names and telephone numbers for Mr. Quadri, for onward transmission to those in charge.
The case was then adjourned to March 9, 2017, for report of the meeting.
The PSP Waste Operators had approached the Court to challenge the proposed new policy of the Lagos State Government, to bring foreign investors to take over waste collection and management in Lagos State.
But the Lagos State government has denied the claims, saying it was only restricting the PSP operators to commercial customers while the foreign investor would focus on residential areas.