By Benjamin Omoike
Operators of the controversial Lagos State Vehicle Waste Basket have denied the accusation that they are fraudsters, following a statement from the Lagos State Ministry of Environment denying their operation.
It will be recalled that the Ministry of Environment, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, had said there is no unit under the Ministry called Lagos State Vehicle Waste Basket, which mandates vehicle owners to purchase branded waste baskets.
The denial came following a video, which went viral on social media, where uniformed personnel were seen promoting the sale of branded waste baskets on behalf of the state government.
The Commissioner had said such a unit does not exist and described the people as fraudsters.
He also urged the public to report anyone found doing such to the police. However, while reacting to the statement, Apostle Richard Oladele, Managing Director of Theorams and Sons Ventures, operators of the Lagos State Vehicle Waste Basket, said the company was duly approved by the Ministry of Transportation to produce and sell waste baskets to vehicle owners in the state, as a way of preventing indiscriminate disposal of waste by motorists.
“Towards the end of the last administration, I applied to the governor for approval for sale of branded waste baskets to vehicle owners.
The then Chief of Staff minuted the letter to the Ministry of Transportation for approval. We had an agreement with the Ministry that if we could do it well, we should go ahead.
Approval letter was given to us by the Ministry dated September 12, 2018, but I told them there is no way this could be effective if we don’t enforce it,” Oladele said.
He added: “The ministry promised to write letters to Agencies like Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and other enforcement Agencies to cooperate with us, which they did.
The letter was dated August 8, 2020, signed by one O.M Ojowuro on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, and addressed to the General Manager, LASTMA, directing the Agency to ensure strict enforcement of the project.
“Letters were also written to National Union of Radio Transport Workers, NURTW, Lagos State Task Force, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, ZONE 2, the State Director, DSS, the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA; the Director, Vehicle Inspection Services, VIS, Road Transport Employer Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, Taxis and Motors, T&M, notifying them of the approval by the Ministry of Transportation for us to commence the sales of waste basket, as well as for them to assist us in enforcement.”
Oladele said the letters were duly acknowledged, while meetings were also held with the stakeholders on its implementation.