By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) said the two agencies are forge a common front in the discharge of their respective duties.
The idea came to light recently as a result of discussions held during a courtesy call on the Managing Director of NEPZA, Barr. Emmanuel Jime by the Director-General of NESREA, Dr. Lawrence Chidi Anukam to discuss areas of partnership and collaboration.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director-General said that the meeting was carefully structured to draw the attention of NEPZA (authorities) to natural environmental laws, compliance and the need to ensure environmental sustainability in the operations of business concerns and industry within the various Free Zones.
The Director-General explained that it was difficult to make genuine economic progress without ensuring that development occurred in harmony with nature.
He stated that it was for this reason that an effective working relationships exist between NESREA, the Nigeria Police, the Judiciary and the Nigeria Customs Service, which has seen improvement in environmental compliance and monitoring.
“We even have training manuals to guide the understanding of the Police and also assist the Judges in some aspect of environmental law”, he said.
A statement signed by Deputy Director (Information)for: Director-General/CEO Oyofo Sule Said Dr. Anukam informed that it was necessary to create a platform for better relationship to avoid incidents arising from poor environmental management.
“NESREA was set up by an Act of the Parliament but we have been more successful with collaborations with agencies like yours. This is important to keep pace with environmental best practices”, he said.
Welcoming the collaboration, . Barr. Emmanuel Jime, the Managing Director expressed worry over the consequences of environmental pollution which was not in the interest of anybody and lamented the dearth of information regarding the operationalization of certain local laws in the Free Trade Zones. He also informed that the free trade zones were created to protect investors alluding that local laws don’t apply to avoid local interferences but the common laws apply..
He went ahead to advocate for the setting up of a committee between the two agencies to work out modalities for collaboration for the purpose of ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment for Nigerians.
He admitted that the time was right for such partnership to pave way for an enduring relationship revealing that as obtainable in Dubai where sharia is
prevalent outside the free trade zones. He assured that NEPZA was ready to collaborate with NESREA for better environmental management.