Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, has ordered the cancellation of the monthly sanitation exercise, saying it is unproductive to shut down a mega city like Lagos for three hours.
Since the military regime under President Muhammadu Buhari introduced the policy in 1984, Lagos residents have been restricted to their homes between 7 am and 10 am every last Saturday of the month.
The government only cancels the exercise on rare occasions.
However, speaking during the monthly media chat of his ministry, Babatunde Adejare, commissioner for environment, said environmental sanitation should be a daily exercise.
He advised residents to keep their environment clean, and threatened to shut down any market that violates the environmental laws.
In 2014, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a human rights lawyer, filed a suit at a federal high court to challenge the restriction of human movements on the last Saturday of every month.
He argued that the restriction of people’s movement was in conflict with sections 35 and 41 of the constitution, which guarantees rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement.
Adegboruwa added that the restriction also violates article XII of the African charter on human and peoples’ rights (ratification and enforcement) act, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He asked the court to declare that the government and its agents do not have the legal backing to restrict movement of Lagos residents on the last Saturday of the month.
Though the court ruled in his favour, the government appealed against the ruling.