Lagos cancels monthly sanitation

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

 The Lagos State Government has terminated the monthly environmental sanitation exercise which had been held for three hours on the last Saturday of every month.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde, said the decision to cancel the monthly exercise followed a resolution arrived at Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting.

According to Mr Ayorinde, “the State Executive Council saw 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.”

He added that government considered the present economic situation in the country and it was no longer appropriate to restrict the movement of people for three hours in a mega city like Lagos, at a time they should be pursuing commercial and entrepreneurial activities.

“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,” he stressed.

Tougher laws

Ayorinde also said that government would accelerate the introduction of fresh reforms through the passage of the new harmonized environmental laws that would drive meaningful changes in harmonized billing, waste management and modern landfill sites.

Others are noise pollution, introduction of an Environmental Trust Fund and an Environmental Advisory Council.

“Lagosians’ and visitors alike are therefore urged to embrace these changes and imbibe a culture of voluntarily maintaining and preserving their environment to create a beautiful and healthy city that we all can be proud of, the state government would henceforth be tougher in ensuring expeditious enforcement against contraventions of its policies and regulations and as such, residents should voluntarily comply with the necessary laws and support government in its bid to have a clean and healthy environment,” he reiterated.

The Commissioner however said that the State Government was not unaware of a recent Court of Appeal judgment which nullified the restriction of movement on every last Saturday of the month.

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Judicial division had on the 4th of November, held that the directive of the Governor of Lagos State on restriction of movement between the hours of 7am to 10am on every last Saturday was illegal and unconstitutional.

A citizen named Faith Okafor who was arrested during one of the sanitation days had sued the Lagos State Government on the matter.

It was declared that the trial and conviction of the Appellant for a purported environmental sanitation offence violated the plaintiff’s fundamental rights to a fair hearing as provided under
Section 36 of the Constitution.