Former Lagos commissioner for Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire, has said the immediate past governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, dragged the state backward by 10 years through his environmental strategy.
He spoke against the backdrop of ravaging floods across the state in the past few weeks which has left many residents lamenting the disaster as it swept through their areas with many blocked gutters.
Banire, chairman, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Governing Board, spoke during the 2019 World Environment Day celebration organised by Project Heart 2 Earth Initiative, with the theme: “Impact of Environmental Pollution on the Livelihoods of People Living in Lagos.”
Rather than introduce another strategy that he said had increased level of flooding and brought other environmental challenges in Lagos, Banire said Ambode’s administration should have built on his predecessor’s environment template.
Represented by Ayo Adeyemi, Banire argued that environment “is key for Lagos because if we get it right with the environment, other aspects of the state will follow.”
He urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to learn from the mistakes of his immediate predecessor on environment.
“What was experienced in the last regime in Lagos State, especially when it comes to matter of environment is that it has taken us back by about 10 years and the reality can be seen by everybody.
“Not to talk about waste disposal, we can see the damages on the roads, the potholes and others as well as water pollution, the gathering of water. Everything has gone bad; it is a low-low when it comes to environmental activities.
“We understand that the problems were there but they have gone down since 2015. So, if we are to score the immediate past administration on environment, it is low,” he said.
Banire, who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) national legal adviser, lamented that Ambode threw aside the formula that had worked for the state, which made it attain enviable environmental heights.
“There were things they (past administrations) did then that made Lagos neater and safe for all. For instance, the green Lagos project, creation of parks and gardens, noise pollution control and others.”
He urged Sanwo-Olu to adopt the environmental strategy of the Fashola administration and improve on it.
“There is need for serious attention on the environment. I will like to see a situation when the government can establish a task force that will monitor all aspect of the environment in the state. We can then get result for a better Lagos.”
Earlier, the team head, Project Heart 2 Earth, Titi Akosa, lamented that the myriads of environmental challenges confronting Lagos indicated that the state could experience any disaster.
She said the challenges threatened the lives of the people living in Lagos. So, all hands must be on deck to arrest the situation immediately.