The Lagos State Government on Friday assured Lagosians that the new Environmental Protection and Management Law initiated by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration was done in the overall interest of all Lagosians to ensure cleaner environment and public health safety in the state.
In a press statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, the state government explained that the law was in tandem with the reforms in the environment sector, aimed at charting a new direction in recognition of the fact that water, sanitation and hygiene are non-negotiable requisites in a mega city like Lagos.
According to the Commissioner, the rapid growth of Lagos, its dream of 24-hour economy and government financial limitations have made it pertinent to make investor-friendly laws that will attract the desired investment into the sector.
“With the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, the government reassures all and sundry of its determination to clean the environment in our state and we are already taking the necessary steps in that direction,” he said.
Mr. Ayorinde’s position comes days after environmental activists complained about the inaccessibility of the new law.
Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to also obtain a copy of the new law was unsuccessful.
Mr. Ayorinde said the government would not be frustrated in its determination to achieve a cleaner Lagos by seeming vested interests working against the reforms, adding that all issues pertaining to the Cleaner Lagos Initiative are being addressed, especially in the crucial area of waste management.
“The government is aware of the complaints by well-meaning citizens over delays being experience in the area of waste collection. The Ministry of the Environment, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and our ‘sanitation gangs’ are on top of the situation and will not give in to the sabotage by those who are opposed to the reforms”, Mr. Ayorinde stated.
He also said there was no such thing in the law that seeks to criminalise individuals sinking boreholes, stating that only boreholes dug for commercial purposes require license or payment and this is not a new practice as it has been in existence since.
“The position of the law today as provided in sections 253 and 259 of the Environmental Management and Protection Law as it relates to construction of borehole or well has not changed from what it used to be.
“First, Landlords are free to dig or construct boreholes in their houses without any permit or licence, provided that the regulation on location of such bore-hole is followed, that is the bore-hole, or well must not be sited near soak away or septic tank,’’ he explained.
The Commissioner stated that licence is required only by landlords that intend to construct a borehole or a well for commercial or industrial use, “meaning that if you dig or construct to sell or for industrial use, you need location permit”.
He added that in order to make it accessible to citizens, the law has now been uploaded online and can be accessed on http://laws.lagosstate.gov.ng.
He urged Lagosians to team up with the government to work for the realisation of its development agenda and sustainability goals, particularly as they relate to the reforms in the environment sector where the people are the direct beneficiaries of the 27,500 new jobs being provided through this initiative; a cleaner state, and all-year-round drainage management for effective and efficient flood control, among others as contained in the environmental law.