The Lagos State Government has been dragged before the Federal High Court by two members of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria who are challenging the constitutionality of the State’s new Environmental Management Protection Law.
The plaintiffs, Mr. David Oriyomi and Alhaji Oladipo Egbeyemi prayed the court to nullify the new law which, according to them, is intended to regulate the control, administration, and management of solid/liquid waste in the state; albeit along incidental and ancillary matters.
They also asked the court to give the local governments the sole authority for the control, regulation, administration, and maintenance of all sewage, refuse and waste disposal in the state.
They claim that the new law is inconsistent with the 1999 constitution.
In a statement issued by the plaintiffs yesterday, they stressed their demand for a perpetual injunction that will prevent the Lagos State Government (and its House of Assembly, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Environment, and Lagos State Waste Management Authority) from violating the provisions of the 1999 environmental law as contained in paragraph ‘H’ of the 4th Schedule.
The new Lagos waste management law took effect last year and saw the introduction of Visionscape Sanitation Solution, an international waste management consortium whose duty it is to provide waste collection, processing, and disposal. The long-term concession also required the company to deploy fleets of waste transfer management vehicles, “590 new rear-end loader compactors, 140 Operational vehicles and close to 900,000 new bins to all be electronically tracked and monitored by our new unit PUMAU (Public Utilities Monitoring Assurance Unit) under the Ministry of Environment.”
The Government claimed that the new law would also provide employment opportunities at least 27,000 people and benefit existing PSP operators.The actuality of this is however yet to be seen, even as many stakeholders continue to kick against the law.
Recently, the disagreement between waste collection operators and Visionscape Sanitation Solution reached a deadlock as the streets of Lagos became littered with bags of refuse; something that has not happened in a long time. This prompted the Government to take steps towards resolving the impasse. As we reported, the dispute was eventually resolved, even as the refuse crisis in some parts of the state still persists.