The British Government over the weekend gave a seal of approval for more foreign investments in Lagos, as plans get underway for the take-off of the first waste to energy plant in the State.
The Deputy British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Ben Llewellyn Jones, gave the official nod when he spoke at Igando Refuse Dumpsite after a guided tour of facilities of the West African ENRG, alongside State officials, led by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello.
In his words: “Though some people think about Nigeria and investments and look the other way, we say ‘look this way’. We will help you and it is a real opportunity here as it is being demonstrated today and even opportunities to grow beyond even what is being achieved now, which is so fantastic”.
“It is absolutely outstanding what is being achieved using British technology, finance and real great Nigerian drive and expertise to create something special that is really going to grow and grow”, the diplomat added.
Jones reiterated that so many issues of climate change, the challenge of pollution, challenge of drainage and of plastics getting into the drains cropped up at the site but are being solved by the West African ENRG waste conversion facility, which is so impressive.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, while welcoming the team, said the quest of West African ENRG to move from waste-to-wealth to establishing the first waste-to-energy facility speaks volumes about the conducive business atmosphere in Lagos.
Bello, who was with the Permanent Secretary, Environmental Services, Mrs. Belinda Odeneye, and LAWMA MD, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, said West African ENRG came to Lagos in 2014 and had its waste conversion plant unveiled by Governor Fashola in 2015, saying the company now plans to set up a waste-to-energy plant.
“There were some intervals of difficulties, that we have now successfully overcome. Now, we have been able to restore all that they started with. They have also improved a lot of things. You must have observed during the inspection today a lot of conversion processes from waste to plastics, rubber, cans and bottles”, Bello stated.
The Commissioner said from the brief and visual clips on the proposed waste-to-energy project presented by West African ENRG, it is clear that if the organisation gets more enablement, it would make further progress in waste conversion.
“Lagos has always been a Mecca of investments. What we just need to do is to make sure that infrastructural developments are accelerated and substantial progress is being made in that regard. We have the roads, water and other infrastructural facilities ready”, he emphasised.
While taking the guests round, the CEO of West African ENRG, Mr. Paul O’Callaghan, said his organisation plans to invest about $125 to $150 million dollars to build a 25 megawatts waste-to-energy facility that would process 2.5 tonnes of waste daily.
“At the moment, it takes three to four hours in the dry season to tip waste at the open landfill site to the wet season that takes as much as 24 hours depending on the weather. We are committing to under 30 mins and aiming for 15 minutes turnaround time”, O’Callaghan explained.
He said the new project means the PSP will move from houses to the waste-to-energy facility and within 15mins will be back on the streets collecting wastes, thus creating better economy for the PSP and a quicker and cleaner Lagos State.
O’Callaghan, who was in company of the COO, Lolade Oresanwo, expressed readiness to convert the Olusosun dumpsite to a waste-to-energy facility that would be built to British standards in terms of emission control if closed down, adding that it would take approximately 20 months to complete after groundbreaking.
The Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, who was part of the team, expressed confidence with what he saw, maintaining that there is capacity to cope with the level of recyclables that will be generated from the society while sorting from source.
“For me, this is an encouragement for us to give them an enabling environment to do something similar around here and other parts of Lagos, so that we can bring development and prosperity to the circular economy within the State.
“We want to have the first waste-to-energy plant in Lagos before the end of the year. So, following today’s visit, we are in discussions to be able to give them a Letter of Intent, with the possibility of signing an MOU as soon as possible to commence a step towards waste-to-energy for Lagos State”, the MD explained.