Please give some accolades to Lagos street cleaners – Ella Temisan

Please give some accolades to Lagos street cleaners – Ella Temisan

Forget the megacity tag; Lagos State is one of the dirtiest cities in the world, no arguments there.

The waste we generate in this city, especially as recycling is still an alien technology to us is really astounding.

Everywhere you turn, there’s a pile of rubbish waiting for ‘awon’ Visionscape to clean up. Sometimes they get cleaned up, other times we need to do hashtags #CleanerLagos and posts photos of rubbish for the government to react.


It is not just the government that is at fault here, I must add; most Lagosians are very dirty people.

How do we keep claiming mega city this, mega city that, and you people still eat and throw things along the road?


Why are you even eating along the road in the first place? People throw plastic bottles, banana peels, groundnuts, oranges or whatever it is they are eating or holding along the road.


I can never understand how we get comfortable eating and dumping our waste on the road. Even in the ‘posh’ areas of this Lagos, you still see food wrappers, nylons and other stuff along the road.


It is no man’s business because the next day, the ‘cleaning fairies’ clean up the road and we are back to dumping rubbish everywhere.

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When I was in secondary school, littering was a cardinal sin. You get punished on the spot once you are caught.


They drummed it into our heads so much that after I left secondary school, I could no longer drop anything on the ground.


So it really irks me when I see people eat oranges, Gala, bananas, groundnuts, etc, and just drop them on the ground.


Every time I see it happen, I want to scream ‘what is wrong with you people?’ Do we even spare a thought for the people who work tirelessly to keep the city clean?

I know it is a job, and they are paid to do it, but, do we see them as we drive or walk by? The men and women, young and old, sweeping the roads, picking up our rubbish and making this city habitable and disease free?


I bet many of us don’t. They might as well be those caution signs they put along the road.

Last month, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing one of the cleaners get crushed by a car.

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She had put the caution sign some feet before her and was sweeping the side of the road early on a Saturday morning when a drunk driver crushed her and severely injured her colleague.


People around the accident scene held their hands on their heads, crying. But as it is with life, the last breath of a person doesn’t stop us from living, so we just move on.


A few meters away, more street cleaners were clothed in the bright lemon green uniform, sweeping, completely unaware of the accident behind them.


As I passed by them, I said a silent prayer, hoping nothing happens to them that day.

I can’t find statistics on the number of Lagos State cleaners who have been killed or injured while at work but I hear the number is high. It happens every other week.


So my questions are: is there some sort of insurance policy for these workers? Is the government going to look after their families if anything happens to them while they are on duty?

Is it okay to ask people to clean Lagos roads where some of the craziest people on earth drive? We all know that many people are mad and they are all driving cars, buses, and bikes in this Lagos, so what is the cover for these cleaners?


Punishing the erring drivers won’t bring back the dead to provide for their families. How else can the government ensure the cleaners are not killed or injured?


It makes zero sense to get killed while cleaning Lagos when the next morning, the whole city will just be covered in piles of rubbish again.

Lilian Osigwe Editor

A Creative and Versatile Writer.  
Currently writes for SabiNews Media

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