The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has abolished the monthly environmental sanitation in the State – saying it is illegal for the State government to restrict people’s movement on that day.
PM News quoted the Appellant court as ordering the government of Lagos to discontinue the exercise, which is held every last Saturday of the month between 7 am and 10 am – saying that there is currently no written law to that effect.
Delivering his verdict during the weekend, 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 State to stay at home and not to move was unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
The judgement followed a suit brought before the court by a citizen, Faith Okafor (Appellant) against the Lagos State Government (Respondent).
The court restrained the Lagos State Government and its affiliates from further arresting the 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.
Following due consideration of this appeal by the Appellant against the Respondent, Justice Ogakwu said:
“I have arrived at the inexorable conclusion that the appeal is meritorious. The same succeeds and is allowed by me. The Ruling of the lower court in Suit No. M/548/2013: FAITH OKAFOR vs. LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT & ANOR. delivered on 1st July 2014 is hereby set aside.
“In its stead and for good order sake, judgment is hereby entered for the Appellant against the Respondents in the following terms: It is hereby declared that the arrest and detention and transportation of the Appellant in the back of a vehicle which is of a metal cage with very little ventilation and light “Black Maria” by officials and/or agents of the 1st Respondent (KAI Brigade) on 25th May 2013 for a purported environmental sanitation offence 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, and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional.”
Justice Ogakwu declared that the purported trial and conviction of the Appellant for a purported environmental sanitation offence violates the Appellant’s fundamental rights to fair hearing as provided under Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and is therefore unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
The court further declared that in the absence of a written law prescribing the same, the 1st Respondent’s directive for people in Lagos State to stay at home and not to move about thereby restricting movement of persons in Lagos State within the hours of 7.00am to 10.00am on the last Saturday of every month is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
“The Respondents are hereby restrained from further restricting the Appellant’s or anyone’s movement within Lagos State at any time or day whatsoever on the basis of environmental sanitation without there being a written law prescribing the same.
“The Respondents are restrained from further arresting the Appellant or 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. The Appellant is entitled to the costs of this appeal which I assess and fix at N100, 000.00,” he ruled.