WOLE BALOGUN, Ado Ekiti
A Magistrate’s Court sitting in Aramoko Ekiti has sentenced a pastor and eight others for six months imprisonment for failure to provide toilet facilities in their houses.
The culprits were also sentenced for other sanitation offenses such as open defecation and refusing to provide waste bins within their vicinities. They were brought to court from communities like Aramoko, Erio, Ido Ile, all in Ekiti West Local Government Area of the state.
Out of the 18 people arraigned before the magistrate court by the Local Government Environmental Health Officers, nine people pleaded guilty to the offenses and were convicted.
The convicts were Pastor Olaleye Isaac, Chief Ologun Ala, Mr. Titus Ibironke, Chief Jacob Taiwo, Mr. Sunday Adesoba, Mrs. Olu Obateru, Mr. Adetoyinbo, Mr. Agboola, and Mr. Atoro. The presiding magistrate, Mr. Abayomi Adeosun, sentenced the accused persons to six months imprisonment with options of fines ranging from N5,000 to N15,000. While lamenting the environmental nuisance caused by open defecation, he held that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others. The magistrate also issued a bench warrant for the arrest of nine other persons who failed to appear in court for similar offenses. He further directed the police to present them for prosecution on April 25, 2019. Addressing journalists after the conviction, Chief Prosecutor, Ekiti West Local Government, Mr. Ebenezer Fashipe, lamented that citizens valued their wealth more than their health.
Fashipe assured that the local government would continue to prosecute households without toilets until open defecation is eradicated in the area. Commenting on the development, Team Leader of Bread of Life Development Foundation implementing ‘Farewell to Open Defecation’ project in Ekiti West and Gbonyin local governments, Mr Babatope Babalobi, commended Ekiti West Local Government for taking the bold initiative in enforcing sanitation laws against open defecation. This, according to him, would send a strong signal to all households without toilets in Ekiti State that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them. He assured that Bread of Life with the support of the European Union Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme phase three (WSSSRP III) will continue to work with the stakeholders to eradicate open defecation in Ekiti State which ranks the second highest in Nigeria.