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Cancel restriction of movement during sanitations, HREP tells states


A non- governmental organisation, Human Right and Empowerment Project (HREP) has called on state governments to follow the example of Lagos in canceling movement restriction during monthly environmental sanitation exercises, in line with the Court of Appeal judgment.

The call followed the decision by Lagos state government to comply with the court of appeal’s ruling against restriction of movement of persons during the monthly exercise held every last Saturday in Lagos.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday in Lagos, the group’s Executive Director, Mr. Francis Chigozie Moneke said, the development was the outcome of a-three-year legal battle fought between the Lagos state government and a citizen, Ms. Faith Okafor who was represented by the group’s senior counsel, Mr. Ikenna Okoli, following her arrest and detention on the account of moving around during the sanitation day.

The group recalled that in a fundamental right action filed by Okoli at the Lagos high court on behalf of the victim, the court was asked to declare the arrest and detention of the victim as violation of her fundamental human right as stated in section 34, 35, and 41 respectively of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended and the African Charter on Human and People’s Right Act, of which the court in its judgment dismissed the action in its entirety.

As a result, an appeal with suit number CA/1106/2014 was immediately lodged at the Lagos division of the court of appeal which upturned the judgment of the lower court and held that restriction of movement of persons on account of environmental sanitation exercise was unconstitutional, being a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of movement of citizens as enshrined under section 41 of the constitution.

Elated by the ruling of the court, HREP said the practice of restricting movement during sanitation exercise, besides being a violation of constitutional right, was backward and counterproductive.

“People must develop the habit of keeping their environment clean at all times, and the government must ensure that wastes are effectively gathered and disposed of regularly,” HREP said, urging those whose movements are restricted or apprehended in any part of the country based on the account of moving around during sanitation exercise to contact them (HREP) for legal action.

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