We Are Out to Ensure Behavioural Change Rather Than Punish Offenders- NESREA


The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, (NESREA) has said its priority is not to punish offenders of environmental law but rather to ensure a change of behavior towards environmental issues.

The Director General of the agency, Dr. Innocent Barikor gave the clarification on Thursday during the Expert Critique Meeting for the review of the National Environmental (Permitting and Licensing Systems) Regulations.

Barikor said there is no joy in getting business premises sealed for violating environmental regulations as that remains the last option to change the behaviour of Nigerians, insisting that the NESREA would rather prefer to educate on doing the proper thing.

He noted that presently there are different interventions which are put in place to get stakeholders educated on not endangering the environment and making it safe for all.

On the meeting, Barikor said: “As you are all aware, the National Environmental (Permitting and Licensing Systems) Regulations is among the 1st set of the 11 National Environmental Regulations developed and gazetted in 2009 which set out to control the activities of the regulated community. 

“The regulation seeks to achieve statutory environmental targets and outcomes such as improvement in air quality, environmental conservation and avoidance of exposure to waste and hazardous substances by issuing Environmental Permits to the Regulated Community. These permits have significantly aided the Agency to achieve her mandate of ensuring compliance with environmental laws, policies, standards and guidelines.”

He added that: “However, in the course of operationalizing the provisions of these regulations in the last 15 years, some gaps were identified including trending and emerging environmental issues such as climate change, marine pollution and biodiversity conservation which are of global concern. These factors necessitated the Agency to seek for assistance through the Quick Wins of its 5-Year Impact Plan from the UNEP-LEAP Small Scale Funding Agreement (SSFA) under the Montevideo Programme V to facilitate the review of this very important regulation.”

He noted that: “Permitting and Licensing Regulations is the backbone that provides the necessary structure to balance growth/innovation and public safety. However, as with any system, there is always room for improvement, thus, the need for the ongoing efforts to refine and enhance our regulatory processes. 

“Today's session is not just a routine review but a critical opportunity to harness the wealth of knowledge, expertise and unique perspective that each of you bring, as we strive to identify areas of improvement, eliminate inefficiencies, and enhance the clarity and effectiveness of our regulatory practices.”

“As we stand at the crossroads of progress, ready to shape a more resilient and harmonious framework for environmental governance, I urge you all to consider this stage of the review process as a testament to our commitment in leaving a legacy of environmental sustainability for generations to come,” he urged the participants

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