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Court Grants Stay Of Execution In Environmental Exercise Decision



Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola

JUSTICE Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos has granted a stay of execution in the enforcement of his judgment that stopped the Lagos State government from restricting movement of citizens during the monthly sanitation exercise in the state.

By this stay, the enforcement of the judgment has been suspended and anyone found moving around unauthorized between 7am and 10am on the last Saturday of the month on state or federal road in Lagos while the exercise is being observed would be apprehended.

The Judge had in March 16, this year nullified the power of Lagos State and its agents to arrest anyone found moving around during the exercise.

Justice Idris said the policy was illegal and a violation of Sections 35 and 41 of the constitution, which preserved the citizens’ right to personal liberty and freedom of movement.

Though the Judge did not overrule the exercise, he held that Lagos State and its agents lacked the legal backing to arrest or detain any citizen found moving about during the exercise, as there was currently no law to that effect.

“I have no doubt that the restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and sanctions meted out to those who breach them are clearly unsupportable in law and unjustified. 

“I must state loud and clear that the environmental sanitation exercise is not in itself unlawful, but what is unlawful and unconstitutional is the restriction imposed by the respondents during the exercise,” Idris had held.

But in his decision yesterday, the March 16 judgment would not be enforced until the outcome of the appeal filed by government challenging the judgment is determined.

Idris, however, ordered the state to compile records of proceedings within 90 days, otherwise the stay of execution would be voided.

The Lagos State government, through its Solicitor General, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), had filed an application for stay of execution, urging Idris to summarily suspend the enforcement of his judgment.

In opposition, the respondent/applicant, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had asked the court to refuse the application for stay of judgment execution, saying Lagos State had the penchant for disregarding court judgments.

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