ABOUT 100 persons are to be engaged as environmental vanguards by the Oyo State government in its renewed fight against street trading and indiscriminate waste disposal in the state.
The environmental vanguards to be stationed strategically across the five zones of the state will be emboldened with the responsibility to conduct raids and be involved in arresting persons who flout environmental sanitation laws.
Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Isaac Ishola, made this known while speaking with Tribune Online on Monday, said arrest of offenders would go on side by side with continuous sensitization exercise.
In addition, Ishola stated that evening raids would commence on Monday while arrested offenders will be tried at the constituted mobile courts the following morning.
Noting the state’s Environmental Sanitation and Waste Control regulations law 2013, he said persons arrested for street trading will not only have their goods confiscated, but be asked to pay N25,000 before they are released.
Furthermore, persons arrested for dumping refuse on medians or other unauthorised spots will be mandated to pay a fine of N10,000 before they are released, while illegal waste collectors arrested will be fined not more than N50,000.
Other penalties stipulated in the Environmental Sanitation and Waste Control regulations law for various offences range from imprisonment of two or three months.
“We started the enforcement as planned on Wednesday, but we still had the feeling that we should carry more people along by sensitizing them the more. As we are sensitising, we are making arrest.
“We will raid this evening and anybody caught will be tried tomorrow. We have the approval to employ about 100 environmental vanguards and we will only need to give them kits and position them in specific locations in the state. We will focus on key areas and it will continue to spread to other zones, not only Ibadan, but other zones of the state. The environmental vanguards will be funded directly by government.”
“For those arrested for street trading, apart from the fact that we will seize such goods, such persons will have to pay N25,000 before they are released. If you are found dumping refuse, once arrested, you pay a fine of N10,000 before you can be released.”
“If found dumping refuse, the law stipulates that such person should not be fined more than N50,000. Illegal waste collectors will be fined N50,000. The mobile court will sit on Tuesday to try offenders. There are also sanctions of imprisonment for two or three months in our law,” Ishola said.