Lagos adopts new approach to upgrade slum in conjuction with World Bank

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By Busolami Idowu

The Lagos State Government and the World Bank has adopted a new approach towards improving the living conditions of the people residing slum areas of the state.

Nine areas have been identified in the plan including Agege/Orile Agege, Ajegunle, Amukoko, Badia, Iwaya, Makoko, Ilaje, Bariga and Ijeshatedo/Itire. It is estimated that over one million people live in slums in these areas. Part of the strategies to keep the residents of the affected areas in keen environment is the introduction of cleanest street competition.

The government estimates that Lagos will have expanded to 25 million residents by 2015, making it the third largest city in the world.

“The project objective remains to increase sustainable access to basic urban service through the investments in critical infrastructures,” it stated.

The Project Director, Mr. Dayo Oguntunde, said in a statement obtained on Friday that the competition is part of a ‘Keep your environment clean’ campaign meant to transform the quality of life in the identified slum communities. It is designed to upgrade the environment under the project. “These nine slums occupy an area of about 760 hectares and are home to over 1.1 million people,” he stated.

The slum upgrading is a $200m project being executed by the state government since 2006 with the aim of increasing their sustainable access to basic urban services through investments in critical infrastructure.

Oguntunde said the first cleanest street competition had been held and hoped to sustain it to keep the people on their toes on the need to maintain clean environment.

This, he stated, was aside the provision and rehabilitation of various infrastructural facilities under the slum upgrade. He said a campaign towards sensitising the slum communities for ‘the cleanest street competition’ had been organised as an opportunity for individuals and groups to display/highlight the products of their slum upgrade and clean-up efforts.

The competition, he stressed, was also geared towards changing the behaviour of the people from passive to active and inculcate in them the culture of maintaining and protecting public utilities/ infrastructures.

He gave the focus of the judges during the street assessment as whether there were blocked drainages and gutters with litter and illegal structures; and the residents’ participation in the weekly ‘clean up’ exercise.

Others are whether the people have stopped the destruction of roads with burning tyres or cooking fires; and dumping of human waste on the streets.

He said the first competition was won by Arumoh Street in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, urged the slum area dwellers to manage the provided facilities. The infrastructure investment proposed by the community for under the total upgrade project, according to Oguntunde, are the rehabilitation of roads within existing right of way 44.8 km; 67 water boreholes; 11.4 km extension of water distribution lines; rehabilitation of 13 and construction of five schools; the provision of 54.4km of street lighting; the provision of 13 public sanitation facilities with baths; upgrading of four markets and the provision of 13 electric transformers

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