At least 40 persons were arrested in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Saturday for breaching the environmental sanitation laws. Also impounded during the monthly sanitation exercise were 50 vehicles and 75 motorcycles.
The taskforce, led by the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Abdulateef Oyeleke, included the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju; Chairman, Environmental Task Force, Francis Ojomo; Special Assistant to the Governor on Environment, Ademola Aderinto; Director, Environmental Health Services and the security operatives in the state.
In an address at the Bodija Secretariat Road in Ibadan during the sanitation exercise, the Commissioner described the attitude of residents as worrisome, saying engaging in businesses during sanitation exercise is criminal.
Stressing the importance of guiding against the scourge of filthy environment, he said the adoption of a clean and green initiative to rid the state of epidemic could not be overemphasised.
“Today being the last Saturday of the month, people are expected to observe the monthly sanitation exercise by taking care of their surroundings, it is a nationwide exercise whereby each state adopts their own policy.
“Here in Oyo State, the exercise is between the hours of 6:00am and 9:00am and of course, there is restrictions of vehicular as well as human movement and anyone found on the road not on an essential service would be made to face the law as appropriate sanction would be given for disobeying the law of the land.
“This is to let the people know that nobody is above the law of the land and people should be made to be a respecter of the law of the land, those apprehended will serve as deterrent to others that might want to do same next time.”
Dr. Oyeleke however appealed to citizens to take the exercise as a matter of obligation in order to make the state safer and healthier for people to live in and for smooth conduct of their commercial activities.
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju, stressed that a lot of residents were found, disregarding the exercise despite the effort of the state government to sensitize the public using all forms of the media.
He however opined that people would get accustomed to the routine as time goes on, especially as the State is combining enforcement with sensitization and advocacy, which he said would have positive effect on the people.
“We have so many communicable diseases, Covid-19 is just one of them, Cholera, Lassa fever are still killing people, these things are caused by filthy environment, it will also lead to unemployment as no investor would want to invest his business in a filthy environment.”
In his remark, the Chairman, Oyo State Environmental Task Force, ACP Francis Ojomo stated that it is unfortunate that there could still be large number of people that were apprehended despite the publicity given for the preparation for the sanitation.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Environment, Engr. Ademola Aderinto appealed to residents to adjust to the new sanitation system of the state as well as the culture of clean and green environment.
Those arrested, speaking on the condition of anonymity, expressed regrets over their actions with a promise that they would not repeat their actions again.
While some of them claimed that they were not aware that the exercise would hold others gave excuses that they violated the law because they were under pressure to meet some obligations early on Saturday morning.