By Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
A newly wedded couple, Mr & Mrs Josiah Oyewo and 27 others were at the weekend sentenced to three months imprisonment each, by a Mobile Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, over violation of environmental sanitation offences.
The court presided over by Magistrate Olubunmi Bamidele, handed down the sentences on the convicts, for flagrance non compliance with the Ekiti State Environmental Sanitation Laws of 2004.
They were arrested by the Special Taskforce on sanitation during the August edition of the exercise held across the state.
The convicts, mainly travelers and hawkers were apprehended by the officials of the environmental sanitation monitoring the exercise within Ado-Ekiti metropolis.
According to the charges, the accused persons were found roaming the major streets in the town during the exercise, contrary to Section 17 (h) of the Ekiti State Environmental Sanitation Laws of 2004 and punishable under same section.
The charges stated that the accused persons also failed to participate in the exercise as required by the Environmental Sanitation Edict of 2004 and punishable under the same section.
They also obstructed the enforcement officers of the Environmental Sanitation from performing their duty at various locations in the state and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 20 of the Ekiti State Environmental Sanitation Laws of 2004 and punishable under same section.
After listening to the charges against the convicts, the Magistrate, Mrs Bamidele, sentenced each of them to three months imprisonment with hard labour.
She, however, gave each of them an option of N5, 000 fine on each count charge in lieu of the sentence.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources in the State, Mrs Tosin Aluko, has stressed the need for the residents of the state to always participate in the monthly sanitation exercise.
She stated that the present administration in the state would always ensure that defaulters are made to face the wrath of the law.
According to her, apart from the monthly environmental sanitation exercise, other sanitation measures would also be put in place regularly in the state, apparently to keep it clean.
She disclosed that other measures have also been introduced by the Oyebanji-led administration to enhance the living standard of the people of the state.
The Commissioner who reiterated the readiness of the Ekiti State Government towards ensuring that major streets in the state capital are kept neat at all the times, stated that the importance of a healthy environment cannot be over emphasized in the society.
She appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with the government in its efforts to make all the towns and villages within the state habitable.
She equally reiterated the plan of the Oyebanji-led administration to continue in implementing more people-oriented programmes that would add values to the lives of the citizens.
The exercise was monitored by members of the sanitation health officers from the Local Council Development Areas, members of the political class, men of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) as well as environmental task force from the council areas among others.