A Lagos Federal High Court, on Friday, suspended the enforcement of a judgment which stopped the Lagos State Government from imposing movement restriction on citizens during the monthly sanitation exercise in the state.
With the suspension of the judgment, anyone found moving between 7am and 10am on the last Saturday of the month, either on the state or federal road in Lagos, while the sanitation exercise is going on, would be arrested.
Justice Mohammed Idris while suspending the enforcement of a March 16, judgment, which nullified the power of Lagos State and its agents to arrest anyone found moving around during the sanitation exercise, however said the judgment would not be enforced until the outcome of the appeal filed by Lagos State challenging the judgment.
Justice Idris, however, ordered the state to compile records of proceedings within 90 days otherwise the stay of execution would be voided.
The Lagos State Government, through its Solicitor General, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), had filed an application for stay of execution, urging Idris to summarily suspend the enforcement of his judgment.
Idris had, in his ruling on March 16, declared the movement restriction policy as illegal and a violation of sections 35 and 41 of the Constitution, which preserved the citizens’ right to personal liberty and freedom of movement.
Though the judge did not overrule the sanitation exercise, he held that Lagos State and its agents lacked the legal backing to arrest or detain any citizen found moving during the exercise as there was currently no law to that effect.
“I have no doubt that the restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and sanctions meted out to those who breach them are clearly unsupportable in law and unjustified.
“I must state loud and clear that the environmental sanitation exercise is not in itself unlawful, but what is unlawful and unconstitutional is the restriction imposed by the respondents during the exercise,” Idris had held.
But Pedro, in a further affidavit, insisted that the judge did not consider or exhaust all the relevant provisions of the law before arriving at his judgment.
“We were able to show exceptional circumstances in our further affidavit; we exhibited a law, which, I must concede, was not brought to the attention of the court; the court would have been more comfortable while arriving at its judgment, if that law was brought before my Lord,” Pedro said on Thursday.

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