Saturday, 23 June 2018

RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT ON ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION DAYS DECLARED ILLEGAL

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"The Court of Appeal, Lagos Judicial division has nullified the restriction of movement on Environmental Sanitation Saturdays, which occurs every last Saturday of the month in Lagos State.

The court 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 is illegal and unconstitutional.

This decision was delivered yesterday, 4th November 2016 in the case of "Faith Okafor vs A.G Lagos state". Until this decision is overturned by the Supreme Court there is freedom of movement every Environmental Saturday.” 

These three paragraphs have recently featured in the pages of some online news platforms in Nigeria. Restriction of movement which is a known feature of environmental sanitation in Lagos State seems not to have gained the approval of the Court. 

The Court of Appeal in Lagos State recently held that the directive of the Governor of Lagos State on restriction of movement between 7am and 10am every last Saturday in each month is illegal and unconstitutional. The Court of Appeal also banned the state government from restricting anyone’s movement within Lagos State at any time whatsoever on the basis of environmental sanitation because there is no written law allowing such. The Court also declared that “the arrest and detention…of the appellant…by officers of the first respondent violates the appellant’s fundamental rights to respect for the dignity of her person, personal liberty and freedom of movement as provided under sections 34, 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)…” 

It should be noted that the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Law 2000 in itself has not been abolished. It is not a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Rather, what has been nullified is the directive of the Governor of Lagos state restricting movement in all parts of Lagos between 7am and 10am every last Saturday in each month.
The Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Law, 2000 makes salient provisions on keeping the environment clean. Some of these provisions are: 
•    duty of owner, tenant, occupier;
•    cleanliness of backyard; 
•    use of sanitary litter bins; 
•    duty of every commercial vehicle to carry litter bins; 
•    disposal of refuse;
•    prohibition of posting of handbills by individuals; 
•    use of covered vehicles and containers to transport refuse and registration of private refuse operators. 

It should be noted that section 37 of the Law provides that “a person who commits a nuisance under this Law may be arrested by a police officer or an authorized sanitary officer.” 

Also, section 38 of the Law provides for specific instances where the Commissioner for Environment and Physical Planning in the State may make regulations to carry into effect the provisions of the Law. These specific instances are: 

•    time for carriage of waste of any description through the street;
•    fees charged for the issuance of a licence {given to private refuse collectors};
•    fees charged for removal of obnoxious, toxic, poisonous or dangerous matter, domestic refuse, industrial or commercial waste from any tenement;
•    design of dustbin, incinerator, refuse chute, refuse containers and waste receptacles; and
•    design of beautification and conservation projects and programmes.
There is no provision on restriction of movement in the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Law, 2000.

REFERENCES
•    Kazeem Ugbodaga, ‘No more environmental sanitation in Lagos, Appeal Court Orders’ PM News. Culled from http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2016/11/08/no-more-environmental-sanitation-in-lagos-appeal-court-orders/ 8th November 2016

•    Court of Appeal nullifies restriction of movements during environmental sanitation in Lagos http://www.cknnigeria.com/2016/11/court-of-appeal-nullifies-restriction.html
7th November 2016

•    Environmental Sanitation Law 2000: Chapter E6. Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015

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