Sunday, January 3, 2021 6:58 pm
By Isa Isawade
The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has reacted to what it regards as “misleading and inciting” allegation that the agency laid off hundreds of its sweepers.
Few days ago, news flittered that LAWMA was planning to secretly lay off the sweepers who have constantly been on the streets of Lagos taking care of the environment even during the months of COVID-19 lockdown.
This made the agency to quickly issue a press release dated 31 December 2020, debunking the allegation. It viewed it as a false rumour calculated to smear the organisation.
“The attention of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has been drawn to the recent rumour making rounds on the social media accusing the agency of secretly laying off some sweepers in the state.
“We want to use this medium to categorically state that the claim is spurious, false, misleading and inciting, which should be ignored by members of the public as lacking any form of substance”, read the release signed by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs of the agency, Akinleye Hakeem Kayode and sent to this medium.
It emphasized that “LAWMA, saddled with the responsibility of keeping Lagos clean, is currently not laying off her workers, what we have done and continue to do over the years, is to reposition the agency for quality service delivery and effective monitoring.”
The release also informed that even the sweepers’ payments were up to date and, therefore, warned mischief makers to desist or face the wrath of the law.
It assured the public of the agency’s resolve to ensure that every nook and cranny of the state is clean at all times, urging residents’ support towards effective waste management in the state.
It admonished residents “to show a sense of responsibility towards the environment by shunning all forms of improper waste disposal, rather patronize assigned PSP operators, as we together build a cleaner and healthier city in 2021.”
The public is also advised to call the agency’s toll-free numbers 07080601020 and 617 for inquiries and complaints on waste management related issues.
However, some of the sweepers in Agbado-Oke Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) called PM NEWS on January 1, 2020 to inform that they had been laid off.
They narrated that at the close of their duty on Dec. 31, their supervisors retrieved their kits and informed them that their services were no longer required. They added that sweepers in the affected routes in the area were not less than 80.
When PM NEWS called the LAWMA Area Manager in Agbado-Oke Odo, Mr. Said for confirmation, he referred this reporter to the agency’s public affairs office.
The Head of Public Affairs, LAWMA, Mr. Hakeem Kayode who, mid-way, left an official meeting to attend to the reporter, clarified that LAWMA had not, and would not lay off any sweeper.
According to him, “there’s no truth whatsoever in the claims. Some people are just bent on tarnishing the image of not only LAWMA but this administration.”
Hakeem assured that the sweepers’ lives were dear to LAWMA, adding that “for the first time in the history of LAWMA, our sweepers are insured. We have gone extra mile to protect their lives. In their thousands, we have insured them”.
That, he said, was done by the current administration in the state in spite of the fact that the sweepers were hired and managed by contractors.
He concluded that the allegation was false and malicious, adding that whosoever was found culpable of any mischievous act would be dealt with in accordance to the law.
Meanwhile, the public awaits, with bated breath, the eventual unravelling of the current mystery.