Abuja - A Mobile Court in the FCT on Saturday convicted 112 residents of Abuja for violating environmental health laws, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
A staff of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Mrs Lola Ibi, said offences ranged from keeping over-grown grasses, dumping of refuse on unauthorised places to keeping of leaking pipes.
She said the offences were contrary to Section 17, 1b, 1a 1f and Section 29 (4) and Section 35 sub-section 19b of the AEPB Act. 1997.
The Magistrate, Samuel Idiahri, while delivering judgement, said the essence of the mobile court was established to interact session with residents to achieve the purpose of the law.
He explained that with the interaction, the convicts would not feel oppressed as they were allowed to defend themselves before they were convicted.
The magistrate after listening to different arguments, went round the apartments to ascertain the validity of the allegations.
Idiahri, subsequently, sentenced the 112 residents of the apartments to two month imprisonment with an option for them to pay fines of five thousand naira each.
One of the convicts, Emmanuel Aris, told NAN that the exercise would make residents to sit up on issue of environmental health.
According to him, residents have lukewarm attitude on sanitation and environmental issues.
Also, Hajiya Aishatu Mohammed, another convict said the exercise was a move in the right direction.
Mohammed, a retiree from the Federal Ministry of Defence, said that residents in the neighbourhood were always nonchalant over environmental health issues.
A Deputy Director in the AEPB, Uche Agbanusi, advised residents of the FCT to clean their environment or face sanctions.
Agbanusi said the board had issued a seven-month warning notice to occupants of the houses at Area 2 and Areain 7 in Garki.
He said that upon the issuance of the notice, the occupants failed to comply, prompting the board to invite a mobile court as the last option to enforce the law.
According to him, residents who had been convicted had would have messages to tell the public that the government was serious about enforcing environmental laws.
He said that the board would make the exercise continuous as long as residents refused to comply with the laws.