This project led him to cast a spotlight on the waste situation in Lagos State, Nigeria.
So when Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria, the giant of Africa with a population of 180 million people began to experience waste littered over the city, he thought to himself that it must be reported. The implications of uncontrolled waste is the bane of illnesses before it spreads into an epidemic; killing large numbers of citizens in sight. Like Ebola and its wanton spread which killed hundreds and raised panic not only in Nigeria but also in other neighboring countries.
Most mega cities- New York inclusive have waste disposal problems; however they have been able to manage them. Lagos did well managing the refuse disposal system under Former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola with Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) at the helm of affairs. The emergence of current Governor Akinwunmi Ambode brought refuse disposal to an all-time-low. Even with the involvement of Visionscape, waste has continued to be a problem in Lagos. The resultant effect is the eyesore waste has become of recent, greeting you at every bus-stop in Lagos. Hence the story: “Lagos and the Growing Piles.”
The essence of this story was to push for better waste disposal systems and uncover the stories that led to the replacement of LAWMA with Visionscape. It was corruption inclined as well. Visionscape in itself has been likened to a shell company, having received an 85 billion naira fund to pack refuse littered all over the city. However, they were unable to do the job they were contracted to do, putting the previous stakeholders, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) out of the jobs. Hence, factions were created and tried to stop Visionscape from doing their jobs out of frustration and unemployment. LAWMA\’s track record had been impressive under Former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola who is at current, Minister for Power, Works and Housing under President Buhari.
He began the investigation with a picture story which was depicting the sorry state of waste in Lagos. The story actually began to trend until BBC got wind of it however, that glory was short-lived as they got through to the Online Editor, Lekan Otufodunrin (now, former Online Editor) of the Nation Newspapers who had to pull the story down from the site since the Lagos State Government was not too happy with the story. Here is the re-written version story link: http://thenationonlineng.net/photo-news-cleaner-lagos/
This led Joseph to pursue a two month investigation that was later published on Pulse NG due to the sensitivity of the story and failure of many other Nigerian platforms to grant the story audience to be published on their site. Pulse NG published it here: https://www.pulse.ng/environmental-lagos-and-the-growing-piles/j0w34kt
The new Pulse site doesn\’t have the pictures but the pictures for the story are encoded in a google map, which Pulse NG failed to attach to the story after it was pitched to them. Here is the Google Map link: https://fusiontables.google.com/DataSource?docid=1nV5WeHNeH3s4booc6VEWkjBMjjS6OZstaGJAgxAM#map:id=3
This story led to several responses by the Lagos State Government, on Nation, Punch and Nigerian Current which was culled from BusinessDay here: http://punchng.com/ambode-clean-up-the-refuse-mess/
All of these led to a state of emergency on refuse in Lagos, with the Government packing the refuse after the publication.
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