A landlord, Samuel Ogun, has accused an agent of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, Dare Odukoya, of demanding N270,250 for waste disposal from him despite not rendering any services to his house on Greenland Street, in the Egbeda area of Lagos State.
Ogun, who described the demand as an attempt to extort him, claimed that one of the agent’s field workers testified that no waste was cleared from his compound.
The 75-year-old noted that the period for the charges was not stated in his bill, adding that efforts to demand an explanation from Odukoya and his workers proved abortive.
He said, “On October 1, 2021, my tenant alerted me to a letter from LAWMA officials in Alimosho LGA, which was pasted on my gate. The letter said I owed the sum of N270,250 for waste disposal. They never rendered any services to me and occupants in the main building.
“But before the letter was served, a waste management team once locked some shops in our area. I engaged the senior officer who led the team and she said they were collecting revenue on behalf of the local government. After a while, the team left.
“So, I had to search for the agent in charge of our area and while calling the numbers on their document, one Dare Odukoya, who claimed to be the owner of Olaolu Gragex Limited operating on Greenland Street, picked.”
Ogun said he was invited for further deliberation at the Alimosho LGA secretariat, adding that when he got there, he discovered that Odukoya was also the secretary to the local government.
The septuagenarian alleged that Odukoya was using his position in the local government to compel him to pay for services he did not receive.
He said, “Right in front of him, I asked one of his workers if they ever entered my compound to carry out waste and he said no. But he (Odukoya) said I still have to pay. I can’t pay for services not rendered.”
A trader, Titilope Amusa, whose shop is attached to Ogun’s house, said she and another trader were also billed N110,000.
She wondered how the bill for two shops accumulated to such an amount in two years.
Reacting to Ogun’s complaints, Odukoya said in a bid to evade payment, people usually dumped their refuse at black spots, adding that landlords had been advised to manage utility bills generated in their buildings to avoid backlogs of outstanding payments.
He said, “We have laws guiding the work we do; we don’t do anything aside from the standard that LAWMA sets for us. Some people feel that if they don’t give PSP their waste regardless of visiting their streets, they won’t pay, but they will be dumping their refuse at black spots.
“I have many black spots that I clear every morning and those keeping waste there are no ghosts, but people that are just cutting corners. I explained this to Mr Ogun. I told him that it is not that we don’t visit his street, but he is the one that does not give us his waste.
“I asked him how he disposed of his waste and he said I should not ask him that and I told him I have every right to know as the operator managing his street. I told him that so far it is established that our truck comes to your street, then you must pay.”
Odukoya said the agency issued bills every two months, adding that he could not tell how the shop owners’ bill accumulated because he did not have their records.