Contractors are also accused of padding their bills with ghost sweepers and supervisors.
By Bayo Wahab
Acting managing director of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Ibrahim Odumboni has accused some contractors of short-changing Lagos street sweepers.
Odumboni in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune said the state government approved N25,000 for each sweeper in the state but contractors that hired them paid them N5,000.
According to him, the contractors also padded their bills with ghost sweepers and supervisors.
Odumboni said, “Our operation is such that we delineate the twenty councils and thirty-seven development areas in Lagos into routes. These routes are, in turn, contracted out to mangers or contractors if you like. They are the ones who hire the sweepers and the supervisors directly.
“Our own role is to pay them and carry out oversight to ensure services we pay for are rendered. In this particular instance, what happened was that reports reaching us indicated that the contractors were not meeting their obligations to those they hired.
“Aside that, at our end, we discovered that the bills being submitted by the contractors were shooting up as the months rolled by. I think Mr Governor was not happy with the situation. I was asked to take over in May. By the time I took over, only two months were being owed the contractors contrary to the stories being peddled around that the government was owing six months or so.
“Of course, the audit carried out revealed a lot of things. We found out that a good number of the contractors were involved in sharp practices by padding up their bills with ghost sweepers and supervisors. Worse still, they were underpaying them. Some contractors were paying the hardworking sweepers N5,000, N12,000, N15,000, N18,500 monthly whilst the state approves N25,000 for each sweeper and N40,000 for supervisor. That has vindicated Mr Governor.”
The LAWMA boss, however, said that the state government would put an end to the situation and ensure that scarce resources are put to use.