The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, has said henceforth the federal government will ensure penalties to all international oil companies and their local partners over environmental pollution.
He said this in Abuja at the 12th National Environmental Standards and Regulations, organized by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations and Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
Abdullahi added that the federal government would not tolerate massive destruction of the environment and all its natural assets to the society, in the guise of oil companies prospecting for oil.
The minister stated: “The Federal Government is conscious of the state of environmental degradation in the country and is making efforts towards the effective management, conservation, and protection of the biological resources in our environment for sustainable development.
“Accordingly, the Federal Government of Nigeria will henceforth hold the International Oil Companies (IOCs) accountable for the massive pollution of our environment and its ecosystems.
“Government is set to institute an Environmental Task Force, especially on oil pollution, and will monitor, track, evaluate and sanction these erring IOCs and their local collaborators.
“The flagrant abuse of our coastlines, mangroves and natural habitats in the guise of prospecting or exploitation of oil resources must be checked to halt the ongoing devastation of our biodiversity resources.
The minister said the”Government will apply the principles of ‘the polluter pays’ to help in remediation efforts of polluted communities.”
While enjoining operators in the environmental sectors to apply themselves to study the 35 regulations in the sector covering electrical wastes, land, and the protection of vegetation, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Professor Aliyu Jauro added that such acquaintances with law allow for environmentally friendly practices.
He said where the players in the industry utilize the guideline to work, they would carry out their various environmental assignments with the utmost sense of responsibility to the environment which guarantees public safety.
In his goodwill message, the Director of the Ondo State Environmental Protection Agency, Princess Korede Giwa, said human development always led to the destruction of the environment but laws and regulations serve as guides to operators in the sector.
Korede who was represented by the Asst Director, Obaado Gabriel, Ondo state Environmental Protection Agency said a such review of the laws is to ensure safe, effective, and efficient development viz-a-viz safety of the environment.