Law News
Lagos appeals judgment on monthly sanitation

The Lagos State Government has asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment which declared as unlawful the restriction of citizens’ movement during the monthly enviromental sanitation exercise in the state.

Justice Ibrahim Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos had, on Tuesday, declared that the movement restriction policy was a violation of the citizens’ right to personal liberty and freedom of movement as protected by sections 35 and 41 of the Constitution.

But Lagos State Government, through the state’s Solicitor-General, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), is contending that Idris was wrong to have made such a declaration.

Pedro, in the notice of appeal filed on Tuesday, insisted that the judge did not consider all other relevant provisions of the law before making his decision.

The senior advocate listed sections 24 (d), 34(2) (e) (i) and 45 of the Constitution and the Enviromental Sanitation Law (Edict No. 12 of 1985) as those other relevant laws that Idris failed to consider.

“The court is deemed to know and is obliged to consider all relevant provisions of the Constitution and existing laws before arriving at its judgment.

“The above provisions of the Constitution and the law of Lagos State provide for the performance of normal communal or civic obligation for the well-being of the community.

“The public health of the community therefore overrides the personal interest of the applicant,” Pedro argued.

According to him, the environmental sanitation exercise and the attendant movement restriction was equal to any normal communal or civil obligation recognised by law.

He added that Section 28 (2) of the Enviromental Sanitation Law (Edict No. 12 of 1985) made it  an offence for anybody to fail, neglect or refuse to perform such normal communal or civil obligation meant for the well-being of the entire community.

He added, “The Environmental Sanitation Law of Lagos State is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society in the interest of public health and therefore valid.”

Pedro also argued that Idris erred in law when he went ahead to assume jurisdiction over a matter that was not among those listed under Section 251 of the Constitution.

He contended, “The jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is limited to those matters provided for in Section 251 of the Constitution.

“The special jurisdiction of the Federal High Court for enforcement of fundamental human right is also limited to those matters the Federal High Court has been conferred with jurisdiction under Section 251 of the Constitution.

“The subject matter of the application, being environmental sanitation in Lagos State, is not within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to adjudicate.”

Idris, had on Tuesday, nullified the restriction of citizens’ movement for three hours on last Saturday of every month for the purpose of environmental sanitation.

“I must state loud and clear that the environmental sanitation is not in itself unlawful, but what is unlawful and unconstitutional is the restriction imposed by the respondents during the exercise,” the judge ruled.

The suit leading to the judgment was filed by a Lagos lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

The applicant prayed the court to void the power of Lagos State and its agents to arrest and detain citizens found moving during the monthly sanitation exercise in the state.

He had described the policy as illegal and obnoxious.

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