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Rights group kicks over planned re-introduction of environmental sanitation


APC Lagos State governorship candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu…..PHOTO: Twitter/jidesanwoolu

The Human Rights and Empowerment Project (HREP) yesterday kicked against plans by the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to re-introduce the monthly environmental sanitation that restricts movement of Nigerians in Lagos.

HREP chairman, Mr. Ikenna Okoli, who led the group to address the media on the issue, urged the governor not to contemplate the idea as the Court of Appeal had ruled that the state has no power to do so. He submitted that sanitation ought to be a continuous or regular exercise that should not be limited to once a month.

Okoli stressed that it is incumbent on the government to recreate a culture of sanitation in citizens and set up a functional and effective sanitation and waste management body that will be saddled with the responsibility of keeping the state clean.

According to him, it is unconditional and contemptuous on the path of the governor to consider the plan because it was stopped following court judgments after a citizen was arrested for not keeping to the restriction order.

Shortly after being sworn-in into office, the governor while on a visit to the Olusosun dumpsite, had mulled the idea of returning the restriction of movement for sanitation on the last Saturday of every month.

This was immediately followed by a poll conducted on the social media pages of the state government asking citizens to vote for a return of the exercise or not. Those who wanted the exercise returned were leading with a wide margin against those who prefer the status quo.

On Twitter, the poll attracted over 5,500 votes, 226 comments and 152 shares. About 79 per cent of participants voted in favour of restoring the environmental sanitation day while 21 per cent voted against it.

Some residents who spoke to The Guardian in Festac town lamented the proposed move. Miss Solape said: “Monthly sanitation restriction on the last Saturday is a terrible idea because there are individuals who have to be present at work. More so, events take place on Saturday. Instead, government should take advantage of the Thursday market sanitation, which restricts opening of market till 10:a.m. to neighbourhoods and communities.

Frank Paul said: “My refuse dump has not been evacuated in the last two months, I had to patronize the private ones. I don’t see how allowing restrictions will do any better.”But a resident of Ejigbo, Wisdom Ajayi, supports the move. He said the negative impact of poor sanitation in his area has resulted in different illnesses in the environment and therefore seeks a return to the monthly exercise.


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