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Scrap dealers threaten massive protests over ban of cart pushers in Lagos

Cart pushers-Scrap dealers

Scrap dealers in Lagos State have asked the Lagos State governent to reverse the ban on cart pushers in the state or face massive protests.

The dealers, under the umbrella of National Association of Scraps and Waste Dealers Employers of Nigeria (NASWADEN), described the ban as an attack on informal work and gave the government a 14-day ultimatum to rescind its decision.

While justifying the ban last week, the government said the cart pushers and wheelbarrow operators are a threat to the success of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello said investigations revealed that the cart pushers were responsible for most of the illegal dumping of wastes in canals and road medians at night. He also said they posed security risks as some of them hide arms in their trucks.

The scrap dealers issued the ultimatum on Friday after a meeting of all the zones and units of the association, a trade union group. Among the zones represented are Ikeja, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu, Alimosho, Kosofe, Shomolu, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Ojo, Apapa, Ajeromi/Ifelodun and Lagos Island.

But the state chairman of the association, Comrade Friday Oku, speaking on Friday after meeting of all zones and units in the state, said members of NASWADEN had been engaged in turning waste to wealth in the state, and, therefore, banning the cart pushers “who help to pick scraps of iron, paper, aluminum, zinc and other metal objects” would cause massive unemployment.

At the meeting also was the General Secretary of the Federation of Informal Workers Organization of Nigeria (FIWON), Mr Gbenga Komolafe. He described the ban as “part of the government’s relentless attacks on informal workers”, who he said constitute 80 per cent of the working population.

He however expressed the association’s readiness to dialogue with the government on the development.

He said: “We have given the government a 14-day ultimatum. After that, we will give them another one week, making it 21 days, which is what the Trade Union Act stipulates. After that, we will embark on massive peaceful demonstration. We don’t pray it degenerates to that level.”

At the meeting also was the General Secretary of the Federation of Informal Workers Organization of Nigeria (FIWON), Mr Gbenga Komolafe. He described the ban as “part of the government’s relentless attacks on informal workers”, who he said constitute 80 per cent of the working population.

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