Oyo State Government has charged officers of the Environmental Tribunal, Environmental Vanguards and other officers attached to the Environmental Task Force Office to be firm, and fair in the discharge of their duties while also familiarizing themselves environmental laws in their approach to prosecute environmental offenders.

The State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Idowu Oyeleke revealed this in his address while declaring a training programme open for members of Environmental Tribunal, held at Ibadan on Tuesday.

Dr. Oyeleke said that members of the task force were expected to acquaint themselves with the existing laws on environmental protection in the State, as due diligence must be adhered to while prosecuting offenders, adding that they should shun all manners of corrupt practices towards achieving the objectives of the law.

“To ensure that environmental mishaps are avoided, the need for training and continuous retraining of staff and officers on updated environmental policies is required in ensuring that prosecution of offenders are done diligently.

“Your approach to prosecution of environmental offenses must be in tandem with the laws of the State and these should be done with decorum and due diligence, ” he cautioned.

The Solicitor General of Oyo State Ministry of Justice, Barr. Adetunji Gbadegesin, who was represented by the Director, General Legal Administration, Barr. Bunmi Oguniran in his presentation, stated that the need for enforcement of environmental legislation cannot be over-emphasized, stressing that it helps in protecting the environment while also reducing environmental harm to the dwellers.

Barr. Oguniran spoke about the establishment of environmental agency in 1988 after an incident of international toxic waste dumping incident in the country, popularly known as the ‘Koko incident’, which also gave birth to some other agencies to regulate the environmental sector.

He stressed further that there was need to curb the menace of indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the State and for residents to comply with the provisions of the law as far as environmental sanitation is concerned.

He however noted that if the ugly trend is not dealt with, it would pose a great environmental hazard to the environment.

Oguniran said resuscitating the environmental protection tribunal for the purpose of ensuring that the State environmental laws and regulations are implemented was necessary and charged members of the tribunal to be fair in their judgement.

In the same development, a training was equally organised for the State’s Environmental Vanguards at the House Of Chiefs in the State Secretariat, Ibadan.

Speaking through the Honourable Commissioner, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju emphasized that officers should curtail themselves in the exercise of power when engaging with the public in a bid to avoid assaults or injuries to both parties.

He said that enforcement is practiced to bring about sanity in waste disposal among residents which goes a long way in preventing communicable diseases and add to the beauty of the State which he said would attract investors to the State.

While speaking at the programme, the Chairman Environmental Task Force Committee, ACP Francis Ojomo revealed that in the attempt to find solutions to effective enforcement strategy, all hands must be on deck.

“All stakeholders should know that our services should be complimentary and not competitive, to this end, no one should feel inferior or superior.

“We should work with our conscience and deliver our services in transparent manner and be found to be above board with clean conscience.”

ACP Ojomo further implored the officers to look forward to the assignment ahead, be smart in the course of their work and be disciplined to achieve a standard operating procedure which would bring into reality, the vision of cleaner, greener and safer environment in Oyo State.

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