Rights Group, HREP warns Sanwo-Olu over re-introducing sanitation in Lagos

Lagos governor, Sanwo-Olu

Human Rights and Empowerment Project Ltd/Gte (HREP) has advised the Lagos State Government and the new Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to do away with the idea of reintroducing the monthly sanitation exercise in Lagos.

Lagos governor, Sanwo-Olu


The Group reminded that if the sanitation will involve restriction of movement between the hours of 7am and 10am or any time whatsoever on the designated sanitation day, it should be jettisoned.


In a press statement made available by Ikenna Okoli, Esq. FCIArb (UK) and Gozie Francis Moneke, Esq. LLM (London), Chairman, HREP and ED, HREP respectively frowned at the mutation of re-introducing of sanitation in Lagos state by the new Governor.


It said further that apparently the state government is not properly advised on this matter owing to the fact that the new administration is yet to appoint a new Attorney-General, who would have advised on the impropriety of re-introducing sanitation exercise in the face of a subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal.


‘’Be that as it may, any attempt to carry on with such idea will be a direct affront to the judgment and order of the Court of appeal, and any authority or person that engages in enforcing such policy will be liable for contempt of Court. HREP will be all out to initiate contempt proceedings against any such dissident authority or person, no matter how highly placed.

ALSO READ  Three poly students develop mobile app for school


The statement read in part: ‘’Our attention has been drawn to the report making the rounds in the media that the newly inaugurated administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu plans to reintroduce the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Lagos State. This planned move is purportedly predicated on the increasing level of waste accumulation in various parts of the State, which casts a slur on the image of the state and tends to jeopardize the health of the populace.


‘’For the avoidance of doubt, the abolition of the monthly environmental sanitation exercise sometime in November 2016 by the immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode, was not a mere policy summersault, but was informed by or premised on the compelling order of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division in its judgment in the landmark case of Okafor v Lagos State Government, which is now fully reported in (2016) LPELR-41066; [2017] 4 NWLR (Part 1556) 404.

That case, which was sponsored by the Human Rights and Empowerment Project Ltd/Gte (HREP) and prosecuted from the High Court of Lagos State up to the Court of Appeal by Ikenna Okoli, Esq. with a team of other lawyers as counsel for the Appellant, has laid to rest the issue of the propriety of restricting the movement of people for the reason of environmental sanitation.

ALSO READ  Rivers Guber: I will reclaim my mandate – Rivers AAC candidate vows


‘’The Court of Appeal in that case reversed the earlier decision of the Lagos State High Court on the issue, and held that the fundamental right to freedom of movement which is constitutionally guaranteed under Section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) cannot be taken away or curtailed by a mere executive order or policy, or even a law. Section 41 (2) of the Constitution specifically mentions matters on which a law may be justified to restrict the movement of citizens.

Environmental sanitation is certainly not a justifiable reason to restrict the fundamental right to freedom of movement. Nothing stops the Lagos State government from running or implementing a seamless and robust sanitation policy without restricting the movement of people as it is done in other civilized nations.

Indeed sanitation exercise ought to be a continuous or regular exercise that should not be limited to a once-a-month ritual. It is incumbent on the government to recreate that culture of sanitation in the people of the state, and what is more, set up a functional and effective sanitation and waste management body that will be saddled with the responsibility of keeping the State clean at all times.

ALSO READ  Chelsea’s Ianni Fined After Mourinho Clash


The statement concluded: ‘’Against the foregoing background, it is imperative to advise the Lagos State Government to do away with the idea of reintroducing the monthly sanitation exercise, if same will involve restriction of movement between the hours of 7am and 10am or any time whatsoever on the designated sanitation day.

Apparently the state government is not properly advised on this matter owing to the fact that the new administration is yet to appoint a new Attorney-General, who would have advised on the impropriety of re-introducing sanitation exercise in the face of a subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Be that as it may, any attempt to carry on with such idea will be a direct affront to the judgment and order of the Court of appeal, and any authority or person that engages in enforcing such policy will be liable for contempt of Court. HREP will be all out to initiate contempt proceedings against any such dissident authority or person, no matter how highly placed’’.