HOW EDO STATE WASTE MANAGEMENT BOARD AND PARTNERS ILLEGALLY SEND CITIZENS TO JAIL:

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…operates illegal detention point at Urhokpota Hall.

…gatemen, house helps, underage and visitors are arrested, detained and arraigned in revenue mobile court.

…magistrates jostle for mobile court assignment due to extra income.

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Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSOs) an umbrella body of civil rights groups in Edo state have been inundated with worrisome reports of the operations of Edo State Waste Management Board, acclaimed waste managers, police and health workers. Our on the spot investigations have revealed how the board and its collaborators go about hurling citizens to an illegal detention facility at Urhokpota Hall for hours before taking them before a mobile court that operates a somewhat legalised jungle justice model wherein a 'victim' must be guilty.

One major issue that is common with such arrest and illegal detention is the accusation of non payment for services that were never rendered by the board and its partners. The complaints by residents are that, the waste managers don't evacuate their wastes but send outrageous bills to them every other month after helping themselves in evacuating their refuse using private waste managers. The board and its waste managers through backdoor arrangements in collusion with a magistrate using the police storms residences in gestapo styles and whisks away anyone found around a property adjudged to be owner/occupier.

Gatemen, house helps, underage even visitors have been victims of their operations in a bid to reap where they did not sow using the instrumentalities of the state on citizens. It should be noted that, the law regulating waste management in the state doesn't give room for such barbaric operation even though the law is still under serious contention in the appeal court sitting in Benin City. The law only provides for various notices and court summons to be served on offenders giving date, time and place for defense by self or with a counsel of your choice. What obtains presently is the legalisation of jungle justice through revenue generation mobile courts.

At this point, we need to sound a strong warning to the board and its partners to desist from these wicked, illegal and traumatising operations on Edo people as further reports will be met with strong resistance. They should ensure residents' wastes are evacuated with proofs and pass through the legally laid down processes only in getting payments for services rendered. Why should citizens be sent to jail because they are owing without considering their present economic status. Should owing a debt constitute a criminal liability that warranty a jail term?

Edo state government led by Mr. Godwin Obaseki should as a matter of urgency look into this madness by an agency that has failed in giving the state clean environment but rather concerned itself with payment without service rendering.

Leftist Osazee Edigin
Public Relations Officer
Edo Civil Society Organisations

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