Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has appointed Mr Francis Ojomo, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), who once served as Chief Security Officer to late ex-Governor Abiola Ajimobi, as the chairman of the state’s environmental task force.
The mandate, which the governor gave to the task force, include the arrest of residents found dumping wastes on road medians, floodplains, and unapproved places. The culprits will then be tried by the environmental tribunals set up by the government.
Ojomo, who addressed journalists at the governor’s office in Ibadan, said the need for the government to ‘come up with the task force was necessitated by the manner and approach of people towards our environment. If we want to have a good living, our environment must be preserved. In an era of global warming and climate change, we must be careful how we handle the environment.
‘There are disasters orchestrated by a change in a climate like nonchalant attitude to disposing of waste. To ensure orderliness and preservation of the environment, everybody should be careful about how they manage waste. Whoever is accosted will be made to face the wrath of the law.
‘We will use the two approaches of persuasion and enforcement. After this week, anyone who is caught will be dealt with according to the environmental law of Oyo State.’
Meanwhile, representatives of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Muslim Community, traders artisans, youth and so on, are to join Ojomo in the task force.
Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Dr Bashir Olanrewaju, who noted that Ojomo had divested his being Police Area Commander of Apata Division, Ibadan, to face the new task full time, adding that six environmental tribunals had been set up to try environmental offenders.
He, however, warned that dumping of waste on road medians and failure to subscribe to approved waste collectors are parts of offence that would attract fine, a prison sentence or community service punishment.
‘You will agree with me that virtually on a daily basis, our people abuse the environment, this has had negative effects on our health and other aspects of our lives. This task force is another step initiated by His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde towards achieving a neat and decent environment and very soon, we will launch a new solid waste architecture, but this is just a step towards it, it is an OPERATION ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FILTH and we are starting the mobilisation today,’ Olanrewaju stated.