By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in conjunction with the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) last week embarked on a seven-day clean-up exercise to tackle environmental degradation and clearing of shanties around the ports, the Apapa Local Government Area has called on the Federal Government and State Government to provide alternative accomodations in form of a ‘Food Court’ for the truck drivers and food vendors.
The NPA-LASTMA clean-up exercise began after the expiration of notices served on owners of illegal shanties, kiosks, containerised shops and abandoned trucks in Apapa and its environs.
Chairman of the Apapa Local Government Area, Hon Idowu Adejumoke Sebanjo stated this last week when she received the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hon Emmanuel Jime on a courtesy visit to her office.
Hon Sebanjo argued that unless an alternative space is provided for the food vendors, they would always return back to look for means of livelihood around the port area.
According to her, 90-percent of the filth and wastes around Tin Can Island Port and Apapa port are caused by food vendors and truck drivers who defecate openly and even take their baths on the roadside.
She lamented that all the drainages in Apapa are blocked due to activities of the food vendors and truck drivers.
According to the Chairman, Apapa presently is already developed without any space, she however called on companies to come up in collaboration with the government to spearhead the Food Court project.
“The shanties as you know, as at Sunday (last week) NPA Task Force are out there clearing all of them, they are clearing both Apapa and Tin Can. So, hope that more companies would come onboard, after seeing all these, they would come onboard to help in making the environment much better.
“In clearing these shanties, we need to also provide space for these people to earn a living, whatever it is that they selling on the roads, they still have to feed their families, if you take them off the road now, how would they feed?
“I am not encouraging them, but at the same time, you are taking food out of their mouth, so we have to look for space.
“Apapa is already developed, so looking for space to build such facilities is almost impossible, but with the help of the Federal Government and the State Government, I am sure we can come up with something
“If we can get all the trailers off the road, and get somewhere we can put them, a food Court that all of them can stay, we would not have so much liters and drainages would not blocked the way they are blocked today.
“So, until we do that, our efforts in clearing these shanties and drainages is useless because they would be coming back” Hon Sebanjo stated
Hon Sebanjo disclosed that the Apapa Local Government Area had in 2022 cleared more than 200 trailers of wastes around the Tin Can Island Port and yet the refuse dumps are still very much there.
She said “When we cleared the Tin Can Island Port, we had over 200 trailers. This was during the cholera outbreak last year, and yet we have not even evacuated half of the refuse in that area” she lamented