By Patrick Okohue
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Lagos State Chapter has urged the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to address the indiscriminate locking of shops and seizure of goods at markets by local government officials in the state over alleged non-compliance with Thursday Environmental sanitation.
The Chairman of CDHR, Mr Alex Omotehinse made the plea in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.
Omotehinse spoke against the backdrop of alleged locking of shops at Kosofe Local Government Area on July 4 by some officials of the Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
He said: “Please, we need proper clarifications and enlightenment on the Thursdays’ Environmental Sanitation.
“It is high time the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice did a proper clarification on the position of law on this issue that was initially strictly for markets in Lagos State.
“For some years now, Thursdays’ environmental sanitation has been an issue leading to one thing or the other.
“Those that are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance have been using the law to extort and exploit the innocent shop owners at inner streets of various communities.
“It is a recurrent decimal which should not be allowed to continue. Many market men and women are complaining of illegal sealing off of shops and extortions over Thursdays’ sanitation exercise.”
According to him, on July 4, at about 8:00 a.m., the health officers at Maiden Health Centre under the Ikosi-Isheri LCDA also allegedly invaded the meeting venue of CDHR Mile 12 Unit in a shop.
“The official went to the meeting office at 619, opposite the Mobil Filling station to lock the shop even when the owner of the shop is yet to arrive,” he said.
He, however, alleged that the venue was not dirty but clean.
Omotehinse said that when the shop owner arrived and went to the health centre, the government officials were demanding fine, saying so many shop owners had been suffering such treatment.
“Now, I want to implore the Attorney General and the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution to as a matter of urgency interpret the position of the law on locking of shops or seizure of goods.
“Only an order of a court of competent jurisdiction can give order for the locking of shop or seizure of property.
“The CDHR, Lagos branch, won’t hesitate to drag the Kosofe Local Government and Lagos State Government to court to seek redress on this matter,” he said.
Omotehinse said that the LCDA was not known to law, adding that such act of going into the inner streets to lock people’s shops over Thursdays’ sanitation exercise.
“This release deserves an urgent attention to save our society from unscrupulous element hidden under the government agencies to extort innocent Lagosians,” he said.
The right activist, who advised local councils to rather intensify efforts at alleviating people’s suffering instead of aggravating their pains, said that Ikosi-Isheri’s residents were expecting to feel impact of the council.