By Chris Paul Otaigbe
No less than 20 physically challenged persons have been employed by the Lagos Waste Management Authority as sweepers, to clean pedestrian bridges across the State.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director (MD) of LAWMA, Muyiwa Gbadegesin in a statement issued in Lagos by the Authority. .
He said the Authority was eager to empower physically-challenged persons with a view to integrating them into the vision of a cleaner and livable environment.
Gbadegesin said that LAWMA had stepped up its drive to rid the state of waste, a move that became necessary to engage all stakeholders, including physically-challenged persons.
He explained that the cleanliness of Lagos State was a collective responsibility and all hands must be on deck to help realize the vision of building a cleaner city that all would be proud of.
”That is why we have decided to engage these special sweepers to play their own part in achieving this,” he said. LAWMA, according to the statement, engaged the services of the physically-challenged sweepers instead of leaving them to beg on the streets.
They would be assigned to clean various pedestrian bridges such as Ojota New Bridge, Alausa Secretariat Bridge, Ikeja-Along Bridge, CMS Bridge and a host of others.” They will ensure that these locations are always cleaned up during the day,” the managing director said.
According to the statement, there are plans by LAWMA to employ more. It urged the sweepers to contribute their own quota towards establishing environmental sustainability in the state. The Authority has also called for the support and cooperation of all Lagosians in keeping the state clean.
According to a LAWMA source, this initiative by the State Government was inspired by the sight of physically challenged who would sit on pedestrian bridges across the State, almost every morning, where they sweep a portion to use as an excuse to beg for alms from passersby.
According to the Source, the State Government then developed that it into the idea that has now brought twenty of them this employment ‘because, we thought that if they could do that, but as a means to get people to see them as being useful, may be they would have more pity on them and give them money.
You know they don’t actually do the full job of cleaning the whole bridge… Just a portion that would make those passing to see that they have started and Lagosians do give them money…” said the source.
This, according to the source may have actually been the reasoning behind this initiative by the government to make them more useful to the State and be paid formally so they can earn a decent Living.