By Tope Templer OLAIYA
Lagosians Lament State Of Infrastructure In LGAs, Doctors’ Strike
LAST week was another milestone in the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola. It was another season to reflect on and review the last hundred days as the government marked its 1,800 days in office.
And like it was in the first edition of the stocktaking event, it was another success story to share in the area of performance and delivery of dividends of democracy at the 18th occasion. And there was a lot to showcase.
But before government officials could reel out their achievements and celebrate, Lagosians at the event voiced out their displeasure about the deplorable state of infrastructure within the local council areas and in particular, the ongoing strike by doctors, which has become an annual practice. They were, however, sparing when they declared the state’s health sector as one of the best, if not the best in the country today.
One of the areas the state has succeeded is in the waste management sector, which has not only transformed Lagos as the cleanest state in the country, but has also created jobs in the last couple of years.
In his address on Wednesday, Fashola explained that the waste to wealth management strategy has created several jobs while the heaps of garbage littering most parts of the state have disappeared. He said that in those days soon after the military left governance, the first challenge was how to find solution to the heaps of refuse. “Those were the period we measured the length of refuse along the major expressway in kilometers.”
On the day Fashola was marking his 18 hundred days in office, over 15,000 street sweepers were on Lagos roads; and at Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Badary and other centres, huge volume of waste were being turned into fertilizers in the state’s waste to wealth programme.
The state government and the Federal Republic of Germany are also collaborating in developing institutions on the waste to wealth initiative as part of measures aimed at improving effective management of waste in the state.
According to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Gbolahan Lawal, Fashola’s administration is not relenting in boosting the agricultural sector and food production. He explained that government would soon begin cultivation to boost food supply to the state. Also, the construction of a Farmers’ Wholesale Market with 100 shops, cold storage facility, mini-abattoir and ample space for parking has commenced in Poka, Epe, under a federal government programme.
President of Asiwaju Cams, one of the beneficiaries of Oke Aro cooperative society in Ikeja division, Mr. Samuel Tiwalade-Alayode, said the new farm service centre will relieve them of the stress, time and money of traveling down to Ojo for farm produce. He appealed to government to keep to its promise by replicating the centre in the other four divisional zones of the state.
Mr. Babatunde Shadeko, president of Imota Farm Settlement, said the society has benefited greatly from the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative, especially in the supply of grains input. He added that with the farm service centre in all divisions of the state, services and input supply would be decentralised.
Members of Aiyedoto Farm Estate Cams, also expressed appreciation to the state for benefiting from its livestock grains input, CADP farm access roads and the FADAMA projects.
The federal government has recently allocated about 50 hectares of farmland to Lagos State in Abuja to support the food production efforts of the state as part of measures to ensure food security and improve internal agricultural production in the country.
While giving a breakdown of the 2012 budget of the state, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said billions of Naira has been invested on the repair of both state and federal roads within Lagos. Hamzat put refund of state expenses from the federal government at N59 billion.
He also unveiled plans by the state to build an eight-storey secretariat annex, which he said would be allocated to all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that are not resident within the main secretariat.
To improve the state of transportation, the administration has also inaugurated a six-man board of directors for the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), aimed at exploiting the potentials of the waterways and raising it to inter-model transport policy.
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, said water transportation “if fully harnessed, will serve as a vital form of transportation in the mobility of people and goods in the state.” The state government recently signed an agreement with an Australian boat manufacturing company on the acquisition of 60 ferries to boost water transportation in the state.