Forty-two persons were sentenced to various terms in prison, over violation of environmental sanitation laws in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
The presiding judge of the mobile court, Mr Shittu Umar, sentenced the offenders to various jail terms, ranging between two and four months.
He, however, gave them the option of paying fines of between N10,000 and N15,000, depending on the gravity of their offence.
The Prosecutor, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, earlier told the court that the suspects were caught transacting private businesses while the sanitation was ongoing.
Mohammed, who is the Chief Environment Officer of the state, said that the offence violated Section 9(2) of the State Environmental Sanitation Law.
He urged the court to punish the offenders, so as to serve as deterrent to others.
Meanwhile, Mr Jonathan Kwaghkaha, the Acting Permanent Secretary in Nasarawa State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, has described the level of compliance in Saturday’s sanitation as generally impressive, compared with previous exercises.
Kwaghkaha told journalists that the exercise, normally observed every last Saturday of the month, was carried out this Saturday because of the Yuletide.
He said that the ministry had strengthened the capacity of sanitary inspectors and deployed them to cover more places in order to enhance efficiency of the exercise.
The permanent secretary advised citizens to always keep their environment clean so as to guard against the outbreak of diseases.
“Residents should cooperate more with the government and ensure that the state is kept clean in their best interest.
“If the environment is kept clean, it will guard against the possible outbreak of any disease, thereby ensuring improved healthy living of the people,’’ he said.
On the alleged extortion of citizens by members of the state’s Vigilante Group, who were engaged by the ministry as inspectors, Kwaghkaha said the ministry had launched investigations into the matter and would bring anyone found culpable to book.