Some traders around Ijeh Barracks, in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, have accused a joint enforcement team on Ikoyi and Victoria Island Clean-up of destroying their goods.
Our correspondent learnt that the team comprised officials of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps, Lagos State Waste Management Authority and Nigeria Police.
It was gathered that the team raided the area around 12pm on Saturday to enforce the cleanup, destroying wares of some traders accused of causing a public nuisance.
They allegedly attacked some traders and scattered their foodstuffs, including rice, garri, eggs and vegetable oil.
One of the affected traders, Eze John, said he was at home when his son, who was at the shop, called him that the team was destroying his goods.
“I rushed down and met foodstuffs on the floor. The policemen fired teargas canister while other officials chased us with stones,” he added.
The son, Nwachukwu John, told our correspondent that the team came in four vehicles and seized wares.
He said, “We were trying to explain to them that we didn’t display our wares outside but they didn’t listen. They are officials of LAWMA, LAGESC, LNSC and policemen firing teargas canister.
“They poured our foodstuffs on the floor. They entered the shop of a woman selling eggs and destroyed everything. They injured two persons.”
An eyewitness, Moses Uwesu, who sells snacks in the area, said he had just opened shop when the enforcement team struck.
“Policemen inside the barracks tried to caution them to no avail. They normally chased people selling foodstuffs on the walkway; I don’t know why they came to those of us who have shops,” he added.More in Home
An official in one of the agencies that make up the team spoke of anonymity that the task force is under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment.
The official said, “It is a joint operation on the cleanup of Ikoyi and Victoria Island supervised by the Ministry of Environment. So, it is the ministry that can speak on the issue.
“I was told that the officials were attacked by some thugs when they wanted to carry out the enforcement. The operation has been on for over one week now.”
The state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, in a response to a text message sent to him, said the incident was not brought to his knowledge.
The text read, “When did this happen, as they have not complained to us in the ministry?”
He had yet to reply after our correspondent told him the time of the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, said he needed to know whether the team was led by the command or the state government.
“If it is a state-government led operation, then the government should have a spokesperson that will comment on it,” he added.