The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Tuesday, 12th May, 2015, commissioned a solid waste material recovery facility in Alimosho with a call on corporate organizations in the state to engage in Corporate Social Responsibilities in their areas of operation as a means to create image for their business and to prosper.
Addressing an audience consisting members of the organized private sector, top government functionaries, members of the Alimosho and Igando communities, PSP operators and factory workers at the factory site, Governor Fashola argued that whether or not a business would eventually become a successful would be defined by the people who work there and how happy they are made to be by the employers.
The Governor, who was making reference to children of compassionate orphanage who had performed a choreography as part of the commissioning programme, cited the West African Energy Limited, facilitators of the factory, who have adopted the Orphanage as their Corporate Social Responsibility to the Alimosho community pointing out that it forms the heart and soul of any business.
“I think it is a lesson for all our business men and women out there who are endowed, not that it is their business to support other people, but a business must have a heart and it is the heart and the soul, expressed through young children and people who are happy that gives a business real image and prosperity”, he said.
Governor Fashola, who thanked the company for bringing joy to the orphans, noted with gratitude that apart from their investment and the business and all that it would bring in terms of employment, the company chose as part of the corporate social responsibility to support the orphanage adding that from the look on the faces of the children, it was obvious that the company has contributed to make them happy.
Giving a little background of the factory, Governor Fashola said the idea came to him through an email he saw on his phone which suggested that an investor wished to establish such a company in the State adding that he directed that the investor be invited to discuss the idea.
According to the Governor, although his first concern was whether it would create jobs, the idea turned out to include environmental concerns and the building of access road network which then required a multi-disciplinary action which then involved the Ministries of Commerce and Industry (business), Environment (environment), and Works (roads), and the State’s Waste management Authority (LAWMA, for solid Waste).
“But the problem then was how to turn his idea into a project and a project into a factory? You would see a multi-disciplinary collaboration here in the work of Government”, he said adding, “But the more we looked at it, the more we saw that there is also an environment issue so we moved to the Ministry of Environment and because it was a solid waste part of the environment, we involved LAWMA.
Noting that the factory is the first phase of a material recovery facility, Governor Fashola said the function was to recover solid waste materials, recycle them for reuse and conservation adding that in doing so, Lagos was only joining the rest of the world by having the recovery facility.
“The whole world is recycling, the whole world is reusing, the whole world is conserving. So nothing really goes to waste in any significant proportion. So that is what we are signing on, we are joining the whole world by having this recovery facility to recycle our wastes and turn them into wealth”, the Governor said.
He recalled that there was a time Lagos was rated as one of the dirtiest cities in the world and expressed joy that the reputation has been consigned to history while the city has acquired a new reputation of being one of the cleanest in the world adding that the new problem now was how to get more refuse to run the factory .
Noting that the factory will service 130 compactor trucks a day when it begins operation in a few months time, Governor Fashola said the expansion of the factory later in the year would usher in its next phase where even more refuse will be needed in order to produce heat for electricity generation.
“So from a state that could not manage refuse, we have moved to a state that needs refuse”, the Governor said adding that the Company CEO had said the factory would start the next phase by December this year which meant that the people of Alimosho, Igando Housing Estate, the General Hospital and the School of Nursing in the environ would expect “hopefully sometime next year”, to enjoy more regular electricity.
The third phase of the project, the Governor said, would be composting and the production of fertilizer to maintain the lawns , parks and gardens and other green areas across the City that one industry that the greening industry now employs over 100,000 people.
“It is an industry that was not there eight years ago, just like the Association of Waste Managers, it wasn’t there 15 years ago. So we have opened new frontiers, creating new economies that were not there before. But is one side of the story, the next side of the story will be Power, the next side of the story will be organic fertilizer and composting”, he said adding that the other sides to the challenge to the environment would be the development of renewable energy from solar panels “made in Nigeria not imported from China”.
Thanking the West African Energy Company and its CEO, Mr. Paul O’Callaghan, for believing in the state and its economy, Governor Fashola declared, “For me, as we wind down in the next 16 days, my promise to you was that I would deliver a sustainable environment for Lagos, a cleaner environment, a greener environment and I think my job is done”.
In his good will message, the Managing Director of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr Ladi Balogun, said his organization was ready to partner in any project involving the Lagos State Governor whom he described as a visionary and development strategist who has turned Lagos into a City of reference.
Vice Chairman of the Igando Housing Estate, Dr. Anthony Chukwuemeka Elemuna, who spoke for the Community, praised Governor Fashola for his transformational leadership of the State in the last eight years saying one of the three dumpsites that pollute the environment of the place had been cleared while the operations of the factory would take the rest of the refuse.
The Onigando of Igando, in his remarks thanked Governor Fashola for bringing development to the area pointing out that although the people were not averse to development, many administrations had come to promise development without carrying it out until the present administration.
The CEO of West African Energy Company, Mr. Paul O’Callaghan, in his remarks said the idea of the factory was conceived in 2012 adding that from then till now the idea has been turned into a factory that has the capacity to take 130 PSP compactor truck loads of refuse employing over 120 people at the first phase with the prospect to employ 300 in the later phases.
In his welcome address earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Dr. Taofiq Folami, described the project as a well thought out one adding that it was intended to be a catalyst to attract more investments in the area and also generate more employment for the teeming unemployed in the State.
Also present at the occasion were the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, the state Commissioner for Establishment, Pension and Training, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase; state Commissioner for Local Governmeent and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Ademorin Kuye; the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed; and the Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr.Ola Oresanya; as well as officials of the West African Energy Company and chief executives of other organizations as well as members of the beneficiary communities.