Residents of Ajegunle got a breath of fresh air recently as members of the Young Christian Workers Movement (YCWM) of all the parishes of the Catholic Church in Apapa Deanery took over the major roads in the area to carry out massive clean-up of the roads and drains.
Members of the group, who thronged the place in their numbers, came with brooms, shovels and rakes for the exercise which was part of the activities of the YCWM to mark the 2019 Workers’ Day.
They also invited the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), which came with trucks and carted away the refuse on the Boundary Market road leading to the popular Mobil Road in Apapa.
Residents said that the exercise was a breath of fresh air. They regretted that for long, heaps of refuse had accumulated in the area, and evacuating the garbage had been a problem.
They said LAWMA had been unable to visit the area to evacuate refuse, hence traders in the market and other residents of the area had been emptying their waste on the road. Many people also were regularly emptying their refuse bins on the streets, they noted.
Mr. Adegbola Adebayo, a resident, complained of irregular services by the waste managers in the area. He said the LAWMA officials usually stayed away for more than three days before coming to evacuate accumulated refuse.
“Since the last dispensation, evacuation of refuse has become a nightmare in this highly-populated area, especially Ajegunle. We are yet to experience the change in AJ City.
“We don’t have access to anyone to complain to. The local government cannot help or assist us on any issue. We urge the state government to improve on collection of waste and ensure that those in charge are doing their jobs.”
He also lauded the Young Christian Workers for the job they did in the area: “It is not easy to clear other people’s dirt. These young people have come here this morning to show us that it is important to clean your environment and cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Speaking with Daily Sun, Mr. Kentegan Nlemadim, a public health researcher and Lagos Archdiocesan secretary of YCWM, said the movement had earlier built and donated modern toilets at Marine Beach and Amukoko areas, thus keying into the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda on good health, sanitation and decent work.
He said these had also gone a long way in making a positive impact in society, which the movement has been known for over the years.
His words: “Workers’ Day is celebrated every May 1 by the YCWN at the local, regional and international levels. Here in Lagos, Nigeria, we had chosen the theme, ‘Uplifting the Worker,’ which we believe is timely and appropriate, as the welfare of workers need to be improved upon to enhanced productivity which will in turn lead to economic growth as contained in Agenda 8 of the SDGs”
The YCW scribe then commended the National Assembly in its efforts at ensuring that President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Minimum Wage Bill.
“We, the young workers, also join our voices with that of organised labour in saying that the Federal Government of Nigeria should not increase the pump price of petrol so that it does look like giving something with one hand and at the same time using the other hand to collect it back,” he averred.
The group’s coordinator, Mrs. Esther Adaeze Ekeh, noted that the clean-up exercise was part of activities by the Apapa Deanery to mark the 2019 Workers’ Day celebration.
Young Christian Workers, a Roman Catholic movement, begun in Belgium in 1912 by Father (later Cardinal) Joseph Cardijn. It attempts to train workers to evangelise and to help them adjust to the work atmosphere in offices and factories.