Mr Adeosun Abayomi of an Aramoko Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 sentenced nine people including a traditional title holder and a clergyman to six months in prison each for open defecation in Ekiti State.
Those convicted are Pastor Olaleye Isaac, Chief Ologun Ala, Mr Agboola M, Mr Atoro, Mr Adetoyinbo, Mr Adesoba Sunday, Chief Jacob Taiwo, Mr Titus Ibironke and Mrs Olu Obateru, all in Ekiti West Local Government area of Ekiti State.
Those convictcted were arraigned for various sanitation offences including non-availability of toilet facilities in their houses, non-availability of waste bins, and defecating in the open.
Delivering judgment, Abayomi lamented the environmental nuisance caused by open defecation.
He however gave them options to pay fines ranging from N5,000 to N15,000.
The Magistrate court also issued a bench warrant for the arrest of nine other persons who failed to appear in court for similar offence.
He ordered the police to present them for prosecution on April 25, 2019.
Out of the 18 people arraigned before the Magistrate court by Ekiti Local Government Environmental Health Officers, nine people pleaded guilty to the offences, and were convicted accordingly.
Addressing newsmen after the conviction, Chief Prosecutor, Ekiti West Local Government, Mr Ebenezer Fashipe, lamented that citizens valued their wealth more than their health.
He assured that the local government would continue to prosecute households without toilets until open defecation was eradicated in the area.
Commenting on the development, Team Leader of Bread of Life Development Foundation implementing a project called “Farewell to Open Defecation” in Ekiti West and Gbonyin Local Governments, Mr Babatope Babalobi, commended the Local Government for taking the bold initiative in enforcing sanitation laws against open defecation.
According to him, this would send a strong signal to all households without toilets in Ekiti state that the long arm of the law would soon catch up with them.
He assured that Bread of Life with the support of the European Union Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme phase three would continue to work with the stakeholders to eradicate open defecation in Ekiti state which he said currently ranks the second highest in the country.
Babalobi described open defecation and non provision of toilet in the state as a serious offence.
The state government came up with the policy if “One-House-One-Toilet”, which now makes it compulsory for landlords to have at least one toilet in their houses.
By Ariwodola Idowu