Mr Adeosun Abayomi of an Aramoko Magistrates’ Court, on Wednesday, sentenced nine people, including a traditional title holder and a clergy, to six months in prison each for open defecation in Ekiti State.
Those convicted are Olaleye Isaac, Ologun Ala, Agboola M, Atoro, Adetoyinbo, Adesoba Sunday, Jacob Taiwo, Titus Ibironke and Olu Obateru, all in Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti state.
Those convicted were arraigned for various sanitation offences including non-availability of toilet facilities in their houses, non-availability of waste bins, and defecating in the open.
Delivering the judgment, Abayomi lamented the environmental nuisance caused by open defecation.
He, however, gave them options to pay fines ranging from N5,000 to N15,000.
The Magistrate court also issued a bench warrant for the arrest of nine other persons who failed to appear in court for a similar offence.
He ordered the police to present them for prosecution on April 25, 2019.
Out of the 18 people arraigned before the Magistrate court by Ekiti Local Government Environmental Health Officers, nine people pleaded guilty to the offences, and were convicted accordingly.
Addressing journalists after the conviction, chief prosecutor, Ekiti West Local Government, Mr Ebenezer Fashipe, lamented that citizens valued their wealth more than their health.
He assured that the local government would continue to prosecute households without toilets until open defecation was eradicated in the area.
Commenting on the development, Team Leader of Bread of Life Development Foundation implementing a project called ‘Farewell to Open Defecation’ in Ekiti West and Gbonyin Local Governments, Mr Babatope Babalobi commended the Local Government for taking the bold initiative in enforcing sanitation laws against open defecation.
According to her, this would send a strong signal to all households without toilets in Ekiti State that the long arm of the law would 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 would continue to work with the stakeholders to eradicate open defecation in Ekiti state which he said currently ranks the second highest in the country.
Open defecation and non-provision of toilets in the state is now a serious offence.
The state government came up with the policy of “One-House-One-Toilet” which has now made it compulsory for landlords to have at least, one toilet in their houses.