The Lagos State Government at the weekend repositioned the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) formerly known as KAI to spearhead the state’s campaign to enforce the zero tolerance for indiscriminate waste disposal, street trading, erection of temporary structures on drainage setbacks, open defecation and also assisting to checkmate the activities of commercial motorcyclists who ply pedestrian walkways.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello made the announcement during a familiarization visit to the head office of LAGESC at Safety Arena Complex, Oshodi alongside the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engineer Joe Igbokwe.
Bello said LAGESC officers would now be posted to the major highways with security back up as a first step to enforcing the zero tolerance and state sanitation laws.
He emphasized that the present administration would in addition to providing necessary security back ups for their operation, also equip the operatives with all the necessary kits and equipment to protect themselves from attacks by criminally minded individuals in the course of performing their legitimate duties on the highways as dictated by the law establishing the outfit.
He warned the officers against indulging in acts of bribery and corruption or making use of proxies to receive gratification from environmental sanitation offenders, stating that monitoring gangs have been formed that would be keeping an eye on the activities of the LAGESC officers as they go about their duties and that anyone found wanting would face appropriate disciplinary measures.
He said his visit to the LAGESC office was to reassure the officers of the commitment of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration to their welfare and also boost their morale by recognizing hard work and to be ready to rise up for the task ahead, saying in the new dispensation, indolence would not be tolerated and that anyone of the employees who feels he cannot measure up to the new expectation has the option of opting out now.
Bello said as part of the measures to reposition the LAGESC, the present pink Uniform would be changed to the old uniform to reflect the colour of the environment and send the right message about total enforcement of the state sanitation laws, just as the necessary amendments would be made to the law to revert to the old name of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) which was the original name given to the outfit at inception.
The Commissioner who had an interactive session with all the operatives gave a commitment that the government would stand by them at all times even when issues of persecution or harassment arises in the course of performing legitimate duties, saying they should be fair and firm in their dealings with members of the public at all times as that would be the only basis upon which government can intercede if they are harassed.
He tasked the management of the agency to also look into the possibility of working out off days for officers, some of who complained of working for seven days in the week, saying such working condition is prone to aggravating breakdowns and low productivity, adding that the choice of a retired Commissioner of Police as Corps Marshal, CP Gbemisola Akinpelu (rtd) for the agency by the State was to ensure collaboration with security agencies.
He revealed that part of the main task of LAGESC operatives this year would be the securing of the Lagos Outer Marina corridor which will soon be landscaped and beautified into a park as part of efforts to restore the lost glory of the area which has now been overtaken by weeds and undesirable elements.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engineer Joe Igbokwe implored the officers to work with diligence and always apply diplomacy while operating, adding that their operations is prone to confrontations and attacks.
The Commissioner had earlier inspected a guard of honour mounted by officers of the Corps after a parade during the visit, which also had the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment, Mrs Aderonke Odeneye and other directors of the ministry in attendance.