GLOBAL WARMING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: FG TO GO HARD ON OIL COMPANIES ENGENDERING ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION
No more business ‘as usual’ for Oil companies in Nigeria, as the federal government moves to create new policies and establish a ruthless taskforce to check their activities in relation to environmental pollution and hold them accountable for damages done.
The federal government through the Minister of environment Mohamed Abdullahi, made it known that the taskforce will observe, assess and persecute offending organizations. He added that international oil companies would be made to pay for the environmental damages caused by their business activities.
Mr Mohammed said this on Monday the 31st of October 2022, at the 12th National Regulatory Dialogue on Implementation of National Environmental Regulations, organized by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), in Abuja.
He further stated that the dialogue was necessary to highlight and thrash out certain issues and also facilitate the establishment of a regulatory structure that will effectively help address contemporary environmental problems of the country.
“The federal government is conscious of the state of environmental degradation in the country and is making a strong effort in addressing the situation,” he said.
“The federal government is also making efforts toward effective management, conservation and protection of the biological resources in our environment for sustainable development.
“Accordingly, the federal government will henceforth hold the international oil companies accountable for the massive pollution of our environment and its ecosystem.
“Government is set to institute an environmental task force, especially on oil pollution, and will monitor, track, evaluate and sanction these erring companies and their local collaborators.
“Pollution follows the flagrant abuse of our coastlines, mangroves, natural habitats in the guise of prospecting or exploiting our biodiversity resources.
“Government will apply the principles of the polluters pays to help in remediation efforts of polluted communities.”
Mr Mohammed said that the government has created regulatory machineries to ensure that the environment is adequately protected, and more pro-environment policies are implemented at the national level.
He added that up to 35 national environmental regulations cutting across various sectors of the economy have been established and are currently being implemented by NESREA
He said that about 8 regulations have been looked into by the agency in dealing with some of the issues pointed out at the meeting.
“These regulations are not designed to stifle economic and industrial development but are put in place to safeguard human and sustainable use of the environmental resources,” he stated.
“I, therefore, call on everyone, most especially the IOCs and industry operators, to carefully study these regulations and comply as government will not hesitate to sanction defaulters.
“As we strive to evolve and adopt different approaches and strategies in solving our environmental challenges, I wish to plead with us to work together to review these regulations. The effort will enable us to protect our environment for future generations.”
Mr Mohammed expressed his concerns over novel environmental threats such as climate change, excessive pollution and gradual eradication of biodiversity.
He pointed out that the decline of global forest is currently at a worrying rate of about 350,000 to 400,000 hectares per year.
He implored stakeholders to be more concerned with facilitating national regulations with emphasis on sensitization and awareness as a prelude to compliance.
The Director-general of NESREA said that the dialogue is held yearly to identify the roles of stakeholders and facilitate practical support for effective environmental compliance monitoring and implementation across the country.
He added that the government has set up machineries for keeping track of the environments, such as regulations, standards and guidelines to keep both the regulated community and other citizens in line with the best practices.
He advised that all stakeholders operate in compliance with the established regulations and policies, while also stating that the regulations will be reviewed form time to time in relation to contemporary environmental challenges.