Please contact Metamorphosis at:
17-19, Boyle Street, Flat 1B2, Onikan,
T: 234 (01) 2632131
Mobile: 0802 3014896, 0803 306 8248
Some of the traders on a tour of the Public facility. Photo: PETER NKANGA
Group brings relief to 4000 Lagos traders
Traders from over 55 market associations at the New Alayabiagba Market in Orile, Lagos State, have applauded the construction of a modern public convenience facility, initiated by Metamorphosis-Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation promoting public health.
During a week-long environmental sanitation workshop, which started on May 10, 2010 and organised in conjunction with health trainers from the University of Lagos, the traders were educated on safe hygiene practices. They were also taken on a tour of the facility comprising male and female sections, each having ten toilets and six showers, a 1000 litre overhead tank, a borehole, a pumping machine and a diesel-powered generator.
After one of the tours, the chairlady of the textile association, Evelyn Bethel, said the personal hygiene and toilet etiquette training she received has made her more cultured. She said the thought of using a modern toilet makes her feel like a westerner in Nigeria.
“I am so happy for what I see. It is very fantastic, it is very nice and it will help us to become Oyinbo people. In short, let me put it this way, we are now Oyinbo people. The money to pay to use it is not too much. Our members will pay because nobody doesn’t like good things,” Mrs. Bethel said.
One of Metamorphosis’ directors, Jife Williams, said between 6:30am and 6:30pm, users will pay N30 to use the toilets and N40 to shower. She said the facility will be self-sustaining, as all monies realised would be used to maintain the facility and pay the salaries of staff.
“We’ll have two hygiene assistants in both male and female sections. They will clean the facility and also pass on health messages to our users. We’ll also employ two security men and a supervisor to ensure the facility is operated to standard. The revenue collected will be used to pay them and also for the maintenance of the facility,” Ms. Williams said.
Toilets of old
The financial secretary of the New Alayabiagba Market central committee, comprising all the market associations, Fatai Raji, who since 1983 has sold in the market, said prior to the new toilet, the market, which accommodates over 4,000 traders, has only two mobile toilets and two fixed toilets.
A visit to the toilets showed the gloomy sanitation conditions the traders and customers to the market are subjected to. For a fee of N10 to use the toilet and N20 to shower, the toilets were smelly with no running water and electricity. Water supply came from a nearby open well.
“We have two local government toilets, and about three years ago, governor Tinubu gave us two mobile toilets. But this is a very big market which has over 4,000 marketers. If not for the demolition outside, we had over 5,000 people. So, even with this new toilet it is not enough,” said Mr. Raji, who doubles as the chairman of the yam sellers’ association.
Partnerships that work
Representing the Ifelodun local government, where the market is situated, Dickson Taofik said the local government’s donation of the land used for the construction of the “world class edifice” has been a worthwhile investment.
A demographer and lecturer in the department of Sociology, University of Lagos, John Oyefara, enlightened the traders on the correlation between a clean environment and healthy living. He told them the success of the facility depends on the hygiene education of the local community.
“The interaction of the people with the environment can give a positive or negative impact. It is about sensitising people to be aware of how they can have a good personal hygiene, maintain the facility they have, and live a better life, because health is wealth,” Mr. Oyefara said.
Adeola Asabia, a director with Metamorphosis, said the NGO being non-profit, solicited the support of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) to build the toilet facility for the market community, encompassing all Nigerian ethnic groups.
“Shell is only responsible for the cost of construction. This facility is the second to be built; the first being at Obalende. The understanding is that Metamorphosis manages the facility on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) agreement and after two years, we hand it over to the host community,” Mrs. Asabia said.
Another trader, Ebere Diala, said the workshop has been a success as it has created a behavioural change amongst the traders.
“We have learned about waste management, how to dispose our waste properly, take care of our environment, drainages. We know how we can have a better hygienic living. The community appreciate Metamorphosis for what they have done for us, and we wish them more success in their endeavours,” Mrs. Diala said.