The Lagos State Government on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 terminated the monthly environmental sanitation exercise which hitherto held for three hours on the last Saturday of every month.
A main feature of the clean-up programme was that it restricted movement in Nigeria’s main commercial hub for the three hours (7am-10am) that it lasted.
The government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said the decision to cancel the monthly exercise followed a resolution arrived at during Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting which approved the need for a robust review of the environmental laws and procedures in the state in order to meet the present day challenges and to promote a clean and healthy environment.
The government noted that, considering the present economic situation in the country, it was no longer appropriate to restrict movement of people for three hours in a mega city like Lagos at a time they should be pursuing commercial and entrepreneurial activities.
According to government, in the last two decades, Lagos has grown exponentially into a mega city with the attendant huge environmental problems associated with managing a population of over 20 million people.
But sadly, the environmental laws, policies and procedures being practiced in the state have not been able to match the phenomenal growth and the dream of a 24-hour economy, hence the need for the reform.
The programme had been declared unconstitutional in a March 2015 ruling by a federal court, because it infringed on free movement and liberty of citizens.
Ayorinde said the state government was not unaware of a recent Court of Appeal judgment.
According to him, the thrust of the fresh initiatives, among others, is to promote holistic and modern solutions to the unique environmental challenges confronting the State, while encouraging citizens to voluntarily partner with government to achieve the desired goals.
The statement said: “After a careful consideration, the State Executive Council has therefore resolved that the present economic climate can no longer support the continued lock down of a mega city like Lagos, when the citizens should be free to engage in commercial and entrepreneurial activities that can promote economic growth and prosperity.
“Furthermore, government will also accelerate the introduction of fresh reforms through the passage of the new harmonised environmental laws that will drive meaningful changes in areas of harmonised billing, waste management, modern landfill sites, noise pollution, introduction of an Environmental Trust Fund and an Environmental Advisory Council.
“The government wishes to reiterate its strong commitment to a clean and secure environment for the benefit of its citizens, and will continue to provide the necessary leadership to meet the environmental challenges of a mega city like Lagos. Lagosians and visitors alike are therefore urged to embrace these changes and imbibe a culture of voluntarily maintaining and preserving their environment to create a beautiful and healthy city that we all can be proud of.”
The statement added that the state government would henceforth be tougher in ensuring expeditious enforcement against contraventions of its policies and regulations and as such, residents should voluntarily comply with the necessary laws and support government in its bid to have a clean and healthy environment.