Lagos State cancels sanitation day
Urges residents to comply with environmental laws
The Lagos State government yesterday terminated the monthly environmental sanitation, which hitherto held for three hours on the last Saturday of every month.
The state government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said the decision to cancel the monthly exercise followed a resolution reached at Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting, which approved the need for a robust review of the environmental laws and procedures in the state to meet the present day challenges and to promote a clean and healthy environment.
The government noted that considering the present economic situation in the country, it was no longer appropriate to restrict movement of people for three hours in a mega city like Lagos at a time they should be pursuing commercial and entrepreneurial activities.
It would be recalled that on November 9, the Appeal Court in Lagos nullified the monthly environmental sanitation in the state, saying it was illegal and ordered the government not to restrict people’s movement on that day.
The court banned the state government from further restricting anyone’s movement within Lagos State at any time or day whatsoever on the basis of environmental sanitation as there is no written law to that effect.
Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division held that in the absence of a written law prescribing the same, the governor’s directive for people in Lagos to stay at home and not to move about thereby restricting movement of persons within the hours of 7a.m. to 10a.m. on the last Saturday of every month was unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
The suit was brought before the court by a citizen, Faith Okafor (appellant) against the Lagos State Government (respondent).
The court also restrained the Lagos State government and its affiliates from further arresting anyone whatsoever on the basis of a purported environmental sanitation offence or trying anyone in the Special Offences Court without conforming to the dictates of the constitution.
According to statement released yesterday by the state government, it noted that in the last two decades, Lagos has grown exponentially into a mega city with the attendant huge environmental problems associated with managing a population of over twenty million people.
But sadly, the environmental laws, policies and procedures being practiced in the State have not been able to match the phenomenal growth and the dream of a 24-hour economy, hence the need for the reform.
Ayorinde said the state government was not unaware of a recent Court of Appeal judgment. According to him, the thrust of the fresh initiatives, among others, is to promote holistic and modern solutions to the unique environmental challenges confronting the State, while encouraging citizens to voluntarily partner with government to achieve the desired goals.
The statement said: “After a careful consideration, the State Executive Council has therefore resolved that the present economic climate can no longer support the continued lock down of a mega city like Lagos, when the citizens should be free to engage in commercial and entrepreneurial activities that can promote economic growth and prosperity.