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Don wants FG to establish environmental corps marshal

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Alarmed by the high rate of environmental pollution and natural resources depletion in Nigeria, a university don has called for the establishment of special corps marshal to help resolve environmental disputes in the country.

Prof. Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, made the suggestion at a Workshop on the review of environmental enforcement guidelines of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, (NESREA).

According to him, the application of the public trust doctrine to natural resources and environment would justify the need to have the armed volunteers. Prof Ladan, who presented a paper titled: “Draft backgrounddocuments for UNEP-Assisted review of NESREA’s environmental enforcement policy, recalled that in 2009, NESREA suggested that corps-marshal and men volunteers be established to promote and police compliance and environmental enforcement at the community level.

NESREA, he said, should carry out planned and executed inspections to ensure that regulations and laws are being respected.

He stressed that the organization should also encourage communities to conduct self-monitoring and report on environmental programme
compliance, which could bring economic benefits to individual facilities and the society.

“It is the application of all available tools to achieve compliance, including compliance promotion, compliance monitoring and non- compliance response. Enforcement can be defined as a set of actions that governments or others take to correct or halt behaviour that fails to comply with environmental issues.”

He maintained, an officer of NESREA might inspect, investigate, institute criminal proceedings and prosecute with the consent of Attorney General of the Federation, any violation of environmental law
in order to enforce compliance with Act.

“Environmental crime prosecution is a field that mixes elements of law, public health and science which require specialization.

Hence, the United States practice whereby special environmental prosecution units are established with a District Attorney’s office with specialized prosecutors is a useful model to emulate,” he added.



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