Forty-two persons were convicted in Asaba on Saturday for violating the regulation on the monthly environmental sanitation.
Mr Sylvester Ehikwe, the Chief Magistrate of the mobile sanitation court, sentenced some of the accused persons to prison terms, ranging from one month to six months.
The magistrate, however, gave them the option of paying fines, ranging from N1,000 to N5,000.
Seven of the 42 persons arrested were cautioned and discharged by the mobile court, while five cases were struck out.
Those, who could not pay the fines on-the-spot, were taken to the headquarters of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for onward transfer to prison.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who monitored the cleanup exercise in Asaba, reports that only a few residents were seen cleaning their surroundings and clearing filth from the drainage channels.
NAN also observed that the monthly environmental sanitation in Asaba is mostly observed nowadays by the ordinary residents of the city.
Motorists, especially government officials and politicians, were often allowed to move around the city in their cars.
Some of the residents interviewed by NAN bemoaned the discriminatory approach of the sanitation enforcement team.
They alleged that members of the team were only eager to arrest and prosecute ordinary people, while the rich and highly placed members of the society were allowed to flout the sanitation law.
However, Mrs Felicia Adun, the State Director of Sanitation and Waste Management, who monitored the exercise in Asaba, said that her officials only allowed persons on essential duties to carry out their official assignments.
“We only allow those who are on essential duties to go and such persons include medical personnel and policemen, among others.
“Those that are not on essential duties are apprehended and prosecuted,’’ she said.
Adun, however, urged people with genuine reasons for not participating in the exercise to always get prior approval for exemption from the Ministry of Environment. (NAN)