FG Frustrating Apapa Regeneration Plan —Lagos
The Lagos State Government, southwest Nigeria, has accused the Federal Government of frustrating plans to regenerate Apapa, saying that the central government has failed to fulfil its part of the agreement.
Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello disclosed this on Thursday at a Ministerial Press Conference to mark the 6th year of Governor Babatunde Fashola in office in Lagos.
Bello warned that trucks might take over Apapa again if the federal government did not fulfil its part of the regeneration plan to reclaim the area.
“Last year Apapa became a major issue. FG came and promised to collaborate with us. Our Task force was mobilised, but unfortunately, FG only gave its word, we spent our own money, did all the clearing and cleaned the place.
“Those places are still cleared, we have started landscaping. When we cleared, we had a committee with the FG and we said we would look at areas where we can collaborate to ensure the trailers do not park indiscriminately and cause traffic jam for other road users again.
“We were able to work together and we agreed on time when they should move. But the FG didn’t fulfil their own part. The clearing was done by the Lagos State Government and the money came from us too. The enforcement also in Ijora and Marine Bridge is being done by the Lagos State Government,” he explained.
Bello added that last year, the FG as a result of outcry, especially by the media, came to Lagos and “apologised to us. We met them last year and since then nothing has been heard. Our position on Apapa is this, we cannot take care of the ports, we are not in charge, we have tried our best and if we are not careful, the trailers might be back.
“What we have done is that the area of the Marine Bridge is landscaped to prevent them from coming back. We went there yesterday(Wednesday) to see what we can do, we would continue the landscaping and when we do that this year, we would be able to complete it next year. All that we have done so far, is from our purse, they have not given anything or cooperated with us. All the recommendations about the ports that we made have not been implemented; the FG is yet to fulfil its part.”
Bello also said government had told churches and mosques in the state to brace up for a showdown over persistent noise pollution emanating from their worship centres, saying enough is enough.
He said the government was pissed off by persistent complaints from the public about noise pollution from churches and mosques in their vicinity.
The commissioner added that “on noise pollution, I believe that it’s an opportunity for us to take it up; we all worship God, but some are doing it excessively and I believe it’s unreligious. A religious man should not do such, we have received a lot of complaints, and we don’t want to be seen to be working against religious organisations or be shutting down churches and mosques.
“It’s an opportunity to let the public know it’s not good for us. In a particular street in Agege alone, we have four mosques and eight churches. Most of them are actually illegal because it’s not proper to convert residential premises to religious centres.”
The commissioner stated that henceforth, “we would send Physical Planning and LASEPA officials after you. We need to go back to physical planning before converting such areas to worship centres. We have told religious bodies that enough is enough and we would go all out to enforce our laws.”
According to him, “we are giving this warning so that when action is being taken, no one will feel they are being witchhunted.”
On the N750 million ecological fund released to the state by the federal government three years ago in the aftermath of the Ajegunle flood disaster, Bello disclosed that the state government had used the money effectively in constructing housing estate for displaced victims of the flood disaster.
He added that the N400 million given to the state last year by the federal government to mitigate the impact of flood was still intact, saying that the fund had been put in a dedicated account.