As Agency reads Riot Act
By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has warned kano state facility owners to desist from degrading the environment.
The Director-General of the Agency, Dr. Lawrence Anukam made the disclosure while reading the riot act to tannery operators and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Kano recently.
Dr. Anukam described Kano as a strategic industrial hub, expressed regret that it is now being abused and used as a hot spot for environmental degradation.
He stated further that “it was rather disturbing and unfortunate that the environment is being seriously impacted as a result of their reckless attitude and disregard for environmental laws and regulations, stressing that it is a lot easier to destroy than to build. This cannot continue; we would not let one industry or the other pull down what we consider our common heritage”
The Director-General said “it is disheartening and also a pointer to completely disregard for human lives, a situation whereby despite repeated visits by Agency officials, facility owners still refuse to comply .Where you refuse to do the right thing, the rules will automatically apply; we cannot fold our hands and watch, this is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in sanctions, but if we are forced to, then we shall wield the big stick”, he warned.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director (Information) for: Director-General/CEO, Sule Oyofo said the DG informed the facility operators that the deluge of complaints and the steady flow of negative reports about their actions had necessitated this second meeting, charging them that “nobody is above the law; you need to run your industry in such a way that your activities will have minimum negative impact on the environment or none at all”. In the first meeting held a few years ago, the Industrialists had agreed to treat their effluent at least to primary levels before discharge into the public drain.
He therefore admonished them to do the needful, and strictly follow environmental laws and due diligence.
Dr. Anukam maintained kano city has economic value that is very importance of human lives, also called for the procurement and installation of Anti-pollution equipment with immediate effect.
“Gone are the days when environmental rules are taken for granted; we must aim for better and cleaner environment; this is where our children are going to live”
The Director-General then went on to emphasize the need for voluntary compliance as it is done all over the world.
Dr. Anukam then called on the Kano Chapter of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to initiate some form of Training and Capacity building to educate facility owners on best environmental practices and also advised them to utilize the pool of accredited environmental consultants where it concerns environmental safety. “Your safety is equally very important”, he said.
He further told them that the air they breathe and the water they drink cannot be taken for granted and that “there can be no moral benefits to your operation if these aspects are not checked or controlled.”
Earlier, the Director-General and his team had conducted an on-the-spot inspection of some facilities in Sharada, Bompai and Challawa areas, where erring facility operators were instantly queried on reckless operations. During the inspection, the Director-General was clearly uncomfortable with some of the facilities that were sited in residential areas.