The Centre For Environment Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) has urged the Federal Government to roll out policies that will monitor the operations of the private sector on the environment.
Prof. Nenibarini Zabbey, the Coordinator of the CEHRD, made the call at one-day workshop organised by the group in partnership with the French Embassy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Saturday, March 13, 2021.
Zabbey said that government should introduce policies that would regulate the way industries or private sectors operate in their environment.
The theme of the workshop was “Develop Alternatives to Practices that Threaten Access to Environmental Rights.”
It was a multi-stakeholders workshop which cut across local communities and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.
“Niger Delta is highly polluted and degraded by activities like oil spills, equipment failure, pipeline rupture, or loading accidents.
“Other pollution caused by artisanal refining by youths who go into the oil mangrove set up camps to refine crude oil, all these are avoidable pollution that need to be checked,’’ Zabbey said.
He urged government to proffer direction on sustainable policies that would regulate the way industries or private sectors operate in their environment.
“The private sector also have a big role to play, they need to integrate in their systems, the aspect of environmental protection and restoration of degraded environment.
“The citizens on their part have a big role to play by acting as environmental stewards, they should begin to act as watchdogs to their environment to achieve sustainable development in the country,’’ he said.
He advised Nigerians to improve on smart agriculture inputs, fishing, information technology communication software applications that encourage farming, among others to sustain their livelihoods.
Similarly, Dr Elias Courson, a lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, said that government should check the security of it’s citizens and hold companies accountable for environmental pollution.
Courson urged government to merge human rights with environmental rights, saying that human rights cannot stand alone without environmental rights.
“Any activity in an environment that threatens the livelihood of citizens like environmental pollution should be treated as violation against human rights also not only as environmental rights,’’ Courson stated.
Also speaking, Mrs Faith Madu, Chairperson for Environmental Justice, called on citizens to understand their environment by avoiding activities that would threaten their existence.
Madu expressed worry over the 45 years average life expectancy of those living in the Niger Delta region reported recently.
“Environmental rights seeks to eliminate threats to human life while human right is life itself, environmental right is essential parts of human right, so government should put a check on it to save the lives of the citizens,’’ she said.
By Precious Akutamadu