A civil rights organization, the Save Lagos Group has described the current administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as a burden on the over 25 million residents of Lagos State.
In a statement issued on Thursday at the group’s office at Ikeja, in Lagos by the Convener of the Group, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman, the Save Lagos Group added that it has concluded arrangement with similar likeminded organizations to occupy the state secretariat in Alausa to continuously mount pressure on the government to change its ways, which he said are inimical to the wellbeing of the people of the state.
Appraising the state of things in the state with specific reference to the recent hike in the Land Use Charge, Sulaiman in the statement said, “We are convinced now more than ever before that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and members of his All Progressives Congress in Lagos State do not have the interest of the people at heart.
“Rather, through their actions and inactions, their speeches and body language, we are now of the view that the current government through its officials is working for the interest of a certain godfather who has cornered the resources of the state for personal aggrandizement.”
He added that “We are calling on well meaning individuals and organizations to speak out against the rape of our common patrimony by a privileged few who have held the reins of authority since the advent of democratic rule in 1999.”
While describing the situation as portending dire consequences for the peace and security of the state, he stated that the desire of the state government to further push the residents of the state to the abyss economic misery would engender mass resistance which the group is ready to lead.
In the statement, Sulaiman stated that the current efforts to hike fees payable as Land Use Charge by the Akinwunmi Ambode led government is akin to the Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Law 2017, which rendered many residents of the state poor via job loses and failure in the waste management objectives of the government.
“Like the law they promulgated for the management of waste in 2017, this law will further serve to pauperise the people of the state even the more. When operational, the people who have had to bear the brunt of the current harsh economic environment in the country but are struggling to pay the current charges would be too hard pressed to pay the exorbitant fees that are far beyond they reach.
“Unfortunately, we are all living witnesses to the failure of the draconian environmental law, which was captured in the state government designed initiative tagged, Cleaner Lagos Initiative that replaced Nigerians with a foreign firm, VISIONSCAPE. Unlike before, our streets are further dirty with likely scourge of epidemic in the state owing to the desire by the governor to satisfy his friends and godfather,” he said.
He added that the promulgation of the law led to loses of over 3500 jobs as the waste managers, with nothing to do now opted to disengage the affected workers in their employment, saying the new law when operational alongside some other revenue mobilization policies and programmes of the state government would render businesses and commercial business owners poorer with attendant loss of jobs by the less privileged.
While describing the new law as repressive, insensitive, callous, barbaric, unlawful, and unconstitutional, he added that it is consistent with the state government’s philosophy of further dragging the people into the abyss of want, poverty and misery, while the privileged members of the ruling class enjoy themselves to the detriment of the teeming masses.
“We are not in any way surprised by the action of the state government that prides itself as a populist one. They aspire to leadership on the basis of Awoism but they tend to do something else with power. It is a common knowledge that the late sage was a populist who championed the course of the teeming masses but those in power using his name are doing the reverse opposite of what the man stood for,” the activist added.
While urging other well meaning individuals and organizations to speak up on the issue, the Save Lagos Group praised members of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association for the stance taken by giving the state government a 7-day ultimatum to rescind its decision to go ahead and implement the law.
Commenting further, Sulaiman added that if the association had been forthcoming on issues of national importance, the current administration would not have been embolden to undertake the obnoxious review of the law the way it has done.
On the next line of action, the activist added that “We are watching the situation closely, we note that the response of the state government through its officials has not helped assuage the feelings of the people.