Femi Durojaiye, 23, a final year student of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, had high hopes and expectations of becoming a medical students at the end of Year 2020, but his hopes were crushed when the Nigerian government imposed a total lockdown in February 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, few days before the total lockdown was declared, the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, had commenced a warning strike against the government.
However, months after the lockdown was lifted, the loggerhead between the members of ASUU and the Nigerian government continued.
While Durojaiye’s hope for a 2020 graduations was dashed, he however saw an opportunity that changed his life. The Lagos State Waste Management Authority LAWMA, on September 2020, launched the Lagos Waste Academy inviting interested people to apply to be trained as professionals in the business of managing waste. This was Durojaiye’s opportunity and he took it.
‘I have always had the interest and passion for waste management and when I learnt of the LAWMA Academy, I knew I needed to be here. And coming here for the Internship Program has greatly changed my perspectives about waste. The caliber of people I have met and the network of people is something I am really grateful for. I made the right decision and today I and my team are currently building from scratch a recycling Shredder.’
‘I think everyone should come and get trained especially those already in the waste management sector. For you to really do the job, you need training and contacts of people who are already thriving in it,’ Durojaiye said.
Since its inception in September 2020, the LAWMA Academy has graduated four batches of students who have been professionally trained and are still being mentored in all the aspect of waste management. The students of the Academy are theoretically grounded and exposed practically to the nitty gritty of waste management as they are rotated round the different departments within and outside the agency.
Speaking with western Post correspondent, the principal of the academy, Mrs. Ademola Elizabeth said while a lot have been achieved within the very short time, the Academy is ready to engage more with both the students and stake holders in the waste management sector.
‘Of course, 2021, we are continuing with the internship program as well as going full scale with our other programs like the Organizational Training, LAWMA Summer School, Specialty Training, LAWMA Waste Challenge and the Waste Summit e.t.c. We are also going to broaden our scope by engaging more with other ministries and stakeholders in the private sector. We have initiatives for the young ones in primary schools and Secondary schools because we believe incorporating proper waste management skills in the young ones, will in no distant future change the face of waste management in the state,’
The Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, who also spoke with Western Post Correspondent believes the LAWMA Academy Initiatives will further drive the waste management awareness campaign that the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration is emphasising.
Highlighting the achievements of the Academy, Odumboni said individuals and organisations including the medical sector to take the opportunity the Academy is presenting and train their staffs.
‘I believe everyone should have at least the basic training on waste management. Because keeping Lagos clean starts from one person and for the state and the nation as a whole to be free from waste, we all have the collect responsibility to keep doing the right thing.
‘There is also the business of waste management and this sector can sustainable employ thousands of people. What you need is first, get the basic knowledge, get specialized training on the area you want to focus and build on that foundation. The LAWMA Academy has all the resources and you can have access to it, practical on hand training and the opportunity to network,’ Odumboni said.