[OPINION] Why Lagos Steps Up Market Sensitization
The marketplace is an essential value-chain business in sourcing quality food for people to maintain a healthy life in society. Hence, the interest of the Lagos State Government to enhance a healthy environment of its markets through the practice of proper hygienic, safety and security measures cannot be overemphasized.
Due to its importance, bringing the market environment under close watch is ideally a safety approach to strengthen public health among residents in the state. The safety approach being marked out assigned specific roles to market leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that the markets are free from filth, diseases and security threats that may have adverse implications on innocent people and the state at large.
Generally, the market is a place for transporting and distributing goods and services which may be either agro or manufactured products. It is expected that people in their large number will daily or regularly go there to consume different products. This veritable avenue for people to sell and buy in exchange for value and money also serves the occupational needs of several households amid satisfaction in several ways to all people to fulfil their appetite. Thus, it is normal that the market is seen in an atmosphere that is hygienic, safe and secure for repeated patronage.
With the T. H. E. M. E. S. agenda of the Lagos State Government, the market as a sector, although an informal sector is placed under the fourth pillar of the agenda, that is, “Making Lagos the twenty-first-century economy.” The categorization as this would also leverage the state economy, given the enormous human potentials that meet in the market for the exchange of goods and services. It is therefore not surprising that the state government is focusing on the state of the market environment. An environmentally friendly market will boost increased trading between sellers and buyers when the market operates under friendly environmental conditions. The opportunity of having beautiful, clean and comfortable markets would also engender trust and build confidence in everyone to bring more money into the market to purchase their chosen products.
To give effect to the role of the market to operate under some specific guidelines and to enforce sanity in all markets across the state, the state government on 30th March 2021 inaugurated a 21-Man Market Advisory Council to interface with the market leaders and others in cascading the state directives into all markets. Issues relating to hygiene, waste generation and proper disposal, street trading, prevention of fire outbreaks, security maintenance and information management in line with international best practices are germane to the proper operation of markets in the current age.
To reinforce the order to reposition the market in the twenty-first century, the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) under the chairmanship of the First Lady, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu embarked on a one-day market sensitization seminar for market leaders in the five divisions of the state to step up the operational guidelines by which every market across the state should operate. The theme of the one-day sensitization seminar for market leaders is tagged “market sanitation and security.”
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu and her team used the market sensitization to invite all market leaders and other stakeholders in each of the four divisions where the programme held to inculcate the modern practices of managing the market effectively for improved public health.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu and her team have being intensifying efforts since the year 2020 to cover four different divisions with the maiden edition of the programme held in Alausa and later in Ikorodu division, Ikeja division, Badagry division, and Lagos Island division recently played host to the first lady and her team when they took the sensitization seminar to Surulere Local Government Secretariat on Friday, 2nd September 2022. In her speech, she emphasized the importance of market sanitation and security as unwavering priorities of the state government. Also at the venue were different resource persons who facilitated different topics with practical demonstrations.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu charged the market leaders to ensure that they make market cleanliness and safety a continuous exercise to improve sanitation and security of lives and properties under their watch. According to her, working in a healthy market environment would make the market to be more attractive to several consumers and would also help the traders to earn more profits. She encouraged the participants across all markets to realise that they have a lot of work to do in maintaining a good shape of the market always.
As noted by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Community Affairs, Honourable Bolaji Kayode Robert while acknowledging the importance of market sanitation and security in society, especially in the market, the effort is to promote the general well-being of residents and visitors in the state. For instance, the food that people eat is a gastronomic substance that may degenerate into serious hazards if sourced in an unpalatable environment polluted with all kinds of filth and micro-organisms that may cause the spread of diseases. The sensitization made good, a statement at one of the venues that “the act of prevention is the pound of cure.”
Since the market usually involves trade, industry, agriculture and human resources, the growth of the market in today’s economy deserves the magnitude of attention that a serious and responsive government in Lagos state is paying to the market environment, especially when we also thought of the ecological circumstances of Lagos as a state between the sea, river, lagoon and small land mass amid a dense population.
The state government at the various seminars had renewed calls for residents to be responsible for sorting their waste and to follow the proper channel of waste disposal to secure communities across the state. While the sorting of waste also gives back some incentives for residents to make money, the programme known as “waste to wealth” is aimed to build the capacity of residents to understand how the danger of not sorting waste could erode the environment with colossal loss of lives and properties. It is still very common for some lawless human beings in their vicinity to dispose waste under the cover of the night in front of public schools’ compound, on the main road, in the drains and during rainfall.
Having a safe community should not be the business of the state government alone, but a collective responsibility of all residents. As the state government is raising concerns about the exigencies of a clean, safe and secure environment, residents must eschew all harmful practices that may cause perennial flooding of their immediate vicinity and the environment. The more residents pollute the environment, the higher the risk waiting to happen, and we may not be able to imagine the magnitude until later.
Reuben hopo is Public Affairs Officer, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs