By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS—Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the cancellation of the usual restriction of movement during state-wide sanitation exercise, often held on the last Saturday of every month in the state.
This may, however, not become effective till year-end. Meantime, the state Ministry of the Environment has served a seven-day ultimatum with effect from yesterday, to 11 identified markets and other public places to comply with the state’s environmental laws or have their markets and premises shut.
The state Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, made the remarks, yesterday, during the ministry’s monthly media briefing in Alausa, Ikeja. Adejare explained that Governor Ambode’s cancellation of restriction order on both vehicular and humans, became necessary as the state cannot afford to shut down a mega city like Lagos for a period of three hours in a day.
According to the commissioner; “Ambode said until every resident of Lagos takes over and drives the ownership of their environment, he would not relent. And he is in a hurry to reach this milestone by the end of this year, when he hopes to discontinue the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.
“To the governor, Lagos State, as the fifth biggest economy in Africa should function round the clock, the government cannot afford to be shutting down megacity of the Lagos stature.” He said that environmental sanitation should rather be a daily exercise and residents should make it a way of life. The Lagos State government has clarified reports on social media that the monthly environmental sanitation in the state has been outlawed, saying that the policy on the monthly exercise has not been reviewed for now. In a statement clarifying government’s position, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said: “While Dr. Adejare indicated that the restriction of movement every last Saturday of the month would ultimately be dispensed with, he did not say the monthly sanitation exercise would no longer hold in Lagos. According to him: “The last two sanitation exercises could not hold due to the JAMB examination in February and the Easter celebration in March.
“Nevertheless, the Lagos State government has always encouraged residents to clean their environment and observe hygienic behaviours, without necessarily having to shut the state down.