Don seeks stricter environmental law, regulations
A professor of Public Law and don of the Faculty of Law, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Olubayo Oluduro, has counselled Nigerian government to give more attention to curbing corporate and environmental crimes.
According to him, these crimes are being perpetrated by multinational corporations, through exploration and exploitation of natural resources, especially in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Professor Oluduro gave the counsel last Tuesday while delivering the 14th inaugural lecture of the University, entitled, “Surviving the Armageddon: the Law as Elixir for Environmental Crimes in Nigeria’s Oil Industry.”He described environmental crime as a serious problem within the global community because of the severe and horrific consequences of its impact to humans and the environment.
Prof. Oluduro berated Nigerian government for not fulfilling the deterrence and punishment objectives of its environmental legislation.“The rare prosecution of the multinational corporations for environmental crimes committed downplays its (government) seriousness and suggests that this type of crime is of less importance, despite the severe harm caused to the environment and human health arising from their business activities.
“While ‘street crime’ is given more political and enforcement attention, ‘white-collar’ or corporate crime is largely ignored ‘unless the consequences of such corporate actions result in several immediate deaths, affect hundreds or even thousands of lives, and cost several hundred millions of dollars.
“It is no wonder the public perceives environmental crime as less serious when compared to street crime, despite the fact that environmental crime is responsible for more illnesses, diseases, and deaths than street crimes.”
He also lamented that despite that, oil industry in Nigeria provides 80 per cent of the budgetary revenue, 95 per cent foreign exchange earnings and contributes over 14 percent to the Gross Domestic Product, the Niger Delta region with its abundant natural resources, presents horrendous examples of environmental degradation.
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