Lagos shuts buildings for discharging waste into canals
The Lagos State Government on Thursday sealed off 13 buildings on Nnamdi Azikwe Street in the Idumota area, which it said were sources of environmental pollution.
Officials of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency in company with some policemen conducted an early morning raid on the street.
They shut the buildings which were partly residential and commercial, saying they indulged in dislodging human waste into public drainage channels.
Our correspondent, who visited the area, observed that odour of human waste, was oozing out of the drainage channels connected to many of the houses.
General Manager, LASEPA, Mr. Rasheed Shabi, said the action followed series of warnings issued to the owners and occupiers of the houses.
He said, “We actually received petitions from concerned residents of the area about the activities of some people on the street. And from our investigations, we realised that a lot of buildings on that street have toilets with no septic tanks.
“And whenever they pass out their waste, it directly dislodges into the drainage channels which in turn washes into streams, rivers, lagoon and other water bodies. This act has been causing water pollution and contaminating aquatic life. When the fishes are eaten, it could lead to outbreak of diseases.
“Initially, we engaged the residents by issuing them warnings and over the past three weeks we have been urging them to stop to no avail.’’
Shabi, who described the level of pollution in the area as worrisome, said the sealed buildings would not be reopened until the affected residents sign an undertaking to contruct their septic tanks.
He added, “We are not victimising anybody but trying to improve and safeguard the quality of life and the environment. If people at the helms of affairs can’t protect the lives of citizens, what then is the essence of government?
One of the affected residents, who identified herself simply as Peju, said she knew about the warnings after her building had been sealed, saying she was not aware that the residents were causing any environmental pollution.
She said, “This is really unfortunate. Where do they want us to sleep? I just got to know that we were served notices today. The person who received the notice on our behalf didn’t inform us. But we regularly engage in the cleaning and clearing of the said drains.”
Meanwhile, the agency also sealed off two giant generators in a residential apartment on Magbon Close, Ikoyi. The agency said the emission from the generators constitute “nuisance and discomfort to residents.’’