By Paul Dada
When I read through a write-up discrediting the Cleaner Lagos Initiative and the Visionscape Group, I could not but shudder at the abysmal level of desperation to which enemies of progress can sink to.
As a very informed citizen and resident of Lagos, I consider it necessary to refute the malicious and fallacious post circulating on the Social Media.
Of course, any “product” you sell on the Social Media will have its buyers, even if it’s a toxic one. And not everyone subscribes to the Biblical principle of “proving all things and holding fast that which is good.”
It is common knowledge that both the Lagos State Government which granted the concession to Visionscape to manage residential waste in Lagos , and Visionscape itself, have for some time been at the receiving end of unjust vilifications by mischief makers and those whose cynicism probably has psychological causes. We also know that the efforts of Visionscape were until recently being sabotaged by persons who felt aggrieved that government had contracted the multinational company to deliver an integral waste management in Lagos.
Now that we are relieved that many progressive PSP operators have resolved to work with both the Lagos State Government and Visionscape to deliver a cleaner Lagos, it boggles the mind that faceless persons or online phantoms would still go ahead to write a message full of lies and some half truths.
I will now address some of the points raised in the write-up and how that they are bare-faced lies or a ranting of an ignoramus.
“If you check their website every page is an exact copy of the previous page only reworded and they use plenty big words that sound good but have no meaning in what they claim they do.”
Even if this were to be true, how does that confirm that Visionscape is a phony company or an incompetent organisation?
I have gone through the website www.visionscape.group so many times to know that the claim that each page is an exact copy of a previous one is untrue. Nobody who is in his/her right mind would visit the site, navigate through its sections and conclude that every page is a replica of another.
The writer complains that Visionscape uses “plenty big words” on its site. This shows me nothing but the author’s poor education.
“They have a board of directors. I’ve checked; each of them is on Linkedin and not one of them mentions Visionscape anywhere. The only Nigerian on the board is Niyi Makanjuola, the point man of the promoters”
There is nothing that is as preposterous as thinking that Linkedin is the only means of verifying the validity of information about people. Many people don’t update information about themselves on Linkedin. I am an example of people whose Linkedin profile information is not updated.
What is wrong in having just one Nigerian on the board of Visionscape, a company which operates in U.K , Belgium and Dubai, UAE. It is also in Sierra Leone, in partnership with Masada. No one has claimed that Visionscape is an indigenous company. The organisation is a multinational and its international headquarters is in Dubai, U.A.E. But mischief makers have continued to dub it a “foreign” company.
But what exactly is wrong in having a foreign company that has a lot to offer, operate in Nigeria? Are we not all wishing that the business environment in Nigeria be conducive enough so we could have more foreign investments? Are companies like MTN, Airtel and Shell not largely owned by non-Nigerians?
We know about companies owned by non-Nigerians which maltreat their staff. Visionscape has employed a lot of Nigerians, a good number of whom are occupying managerial and middle level positions. Visionscape has plans to rehabilitate and employ scavengers who operate at the Epe landfill which the company is transforming into the first engineered landfill in West Africa.
And the claim of Makanjuola being a point man (whatever that means), is balderdash. This is a man who has been doing business successfully in Nigerian since 2002.
“Check the Visionscape page on YouTube, every single picture is in Nigeria or animation, but according to them, they are an international company. There is no track record of them anywhere, doing any ‘work’ before Lagos State. The only other place they can be found is a so-called head office in Dubai”
Lies! Lies! Let those reading this visit the website of Visonscape they will get information about the activities of the company in other countries. The claim of all pictures being in animation, is not true. Any diligent searcher on Youtube will attest to this.
“How did they get their name put in our environmental law?”
I wonder how people can keep repeating this lie? An online news medium, Premium Times, interviewed a certain Demola Olarewaju who claimed that Visionscape was included in revised Lagos Environmental Law. The same Olarewaju via his Twitter handle later apologised for his gaffe. He said he had been informed that his claim was not correct.
One would expect that nobody would keep spreading this particular lie. It does not take much effort for anyone to look through the law and see whether the claim is true.
“Visionscape raised N50bn bond in the capital market and got Lagos State to guarantee it”
Is this even an argument? What exactly is wrong in a reputable company raising a bond in the capital market?
I think it is important for Lagosians to ignore the lies and exaggerations of those who don’t want Lagos to succeed. The smear campaign is a mere distraction. The sponsors of this evil will be silenced soon when the Cleaner Lagos Initiative becomes an overwhelming success.
Paul Dada is a Lagos-based journalist