AMUWO-Odofin community in Amuwo-Odofin Local Area in Lagos state comprising residents and companies at the Amowo-Odofin industrial area, are seeking the attention of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode over what they described as inhuman activities of a Chinese company, Hongxing Steel Nig. Ltd, operating in the area. Hongxing is a steel company involved in melting of iron scraps into steel products within the industrial layout.
According to the residents and business owners in the area, the Chinese firm’s activities which have practically taken over all the adjoining streets have become an environmental nuisance in the industrial area. According to them, the company has been emitting raw gas pollution to the extent that other companies and residents are fleeing from the area. Some business owners and residents in the industrial scheme, who spoke to Vanguard alleged that the iron melting company’s activities have become hazardous to the entire neighbourhood, and that workers in the area have been exposed to harmful air and environmental degradation.
According to the business owners who pleaded anonymity for obvious reasons, they have been making noise about the activities of the Chinese firm and its effects on the neighbourhood, wondering why the concerned government authorities have not deemed it fit to call the company to order by sanctioning it. They alleged that efforts made to get the attention of the Lagos State Government met a brick wall.
“We have written a petition to the office of the Lagos state governor which they replied and said our petition would be looked into. Up till now, we are yet to see any form of action and investigation.” In a letter from the office of the government and signed by the Chief of Staff, Kola Aileru and made available to Vanguard, the State government had acknowledged the receipt of the petition dated 5th of April, 2017.
The Chief of Staff also noted in the letter that the petition has been forwarded on the directive of the Governor to the commissioner of Environment for necessary action. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the aggrieved residents are crying foul. They are not happy about the brazen manner with which the owners of the company are carrying on their business without consideration for the impact of their operations on the environment. When the premises of Hongxing Steel Nig. Ltd was visited , there were two massive exhaust pipes through which fumes are uncontrollably discharging into the atmosphere. The activities of heavy duty trucks were also a common site. One of the roads leading to the company was completely blocked with trucks while other road users spend hours on the street road.
The environment was also being degraded as a result of effluents being discharged into it by the company. It was further gathered that the fumes from the company which are accompanied by sparking fire, are non-stop. It was also gathered that a company close to it caught fire once due to the company’s activities.
However, efforts by Vanguard to the reach the management of the Steel company was abortive and a security man who claimed that his bosses were not around collected our correspondent call card promising that his boss would definitely get across to our correspondent. Unfortunately, one week after the visit, no one from the company has contacted our correspondent.