Adegboruwa asks Ambode to halt victimisation of PSP waste operators
Posted by News Express | 9 February 2017 | 1,729 times
Counsel to the Association of Waste Managers, consisting of all the 350 Private Sector Participants (PSP), who are the operators of domestic and commercial wastes in Lagos State, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has written to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, against the victimisation and persecution of the operators.
It would be recalled that the operators approached the Lagos High Court on January 31, 2017, to stop the proposed termination of their services in preference for foreign investors. In the letter dated 8th February, 2017, Mr. Adegboruwa accused the Lagos State Government of taking steps to predetermine the case pending in court and to overreach the fate and rights of the waste operators, who have for years, being the engine room of the cleaner Lagos initiative. He said the Ministry of Justice has since retrieved the files of all the named claimants in the case, for possible victimisation and persecution, as a way of punishing them for instituting the case in court against the government.
Adegboruwa emphasised that in a democratic government, the right of access to court should not be seen as a challenge to the authority of government but rather a civilised mode of settlement of disputes. He said the waste operators mean well for the State and they are willing and ready to work with the government of Governor Ambode for a cleaner Lagos, in so far as the proposed re-organisation is not render them jobless, in the way that the Ministry of the Environment, which is not recognised under the existing laws regulating waste collection and disposal, has been advertising their jobs for replacement, even whilst the case is still pending in court. He stated further:
“Our clients have however drawn our attention to the subsequent newspaper publication made in The Punch Newspaper of Monday, February 6, 2017 (at page 22 thereof) wherein a government agency, Ministry of the Environment of Lagos State, made an invitation for the recertification of existing waste management companies (PSPs) for solid waste management in Lagos State. It is therefore at this juncture we humbly commend the provisions of the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution, to Your Excellency.
“Under and by virtue of section 6 (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, once parties have submitted their dispute before a competent court, none of them is allowed to resort to self-help or to take any step, that may jeopardize the due hearing of the matter, on the merits. In this case, our Clients have filed an application for an order of injunction all in order to preserve the existing rights, interest and circumstances before the commencement of the above mentioned suit, against the Lagos State Government and the other parties therein. Indeed, in the locus classicus case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) 621, the Supreme Court stated this much in the following statements: Per OBASEKI, J.S.C., at page 636, paras. C-D:
“Once a dispute has arisen between a person and the government or authority and the dispute has been brought before the court, thereby invoking the judicial powers of the state, it is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course or allow the legal and judicial process to run its full course. The action the Lagos State Government took can have no other interpretation than the show of the intention to pre-empt the decision of the court. The courts expect the utmost respect of the law from the government itself, which rules by the law.”
At page 637, paras. B-C:
“The rule is well settled both by the courts of England and of this country, that where a suit is brought to enjoin certain activities for example, the erection of a building or other structure, of which suit the defendant has notice, the hands of the defendant are effectually tied pending a hearing and determination, even though no restraining order or preliminary injunction be issued.”
“Sir, as your revered and esteemed office has been duly notified of the above suit, and in line with the best traditions of due respect for the rule of law and due process, we humbly urge you to use your good offices to prevail on the defendants herein to stay further steps and actions in respect of the above pending suit, to await the due determination of the suit pending in court and to refrain from all such actions that may avert, hinder or jeopardize the due hearing of the said suit and to maintain the status quo, pending the hearing and determination of the case filed in court, by our Clients.”