In every place of work and human undertakings where productivity is desired and the expected result is stemming out, the driving force will apparently be the kind of leadership installed encapsulated by serious commitment and foresightedness.
As the federal government’s agency saddled with the responsibility of protecting the nation’s environment and ensuring the country is enjoying safe, conducive, and toxin-free, cleaner and healthier environment, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was established in 2007. The agency has never had it so good to translate its set objectives into a pragmatic reality than now.
It is without a doubt that before the coming of the new head of the NESREA, the erudite Professor of Chemistry, Aliyu Jauro, not much was heard of the agency let alone implementing and enforcing its regulations in spite its very critical roles and responsibilities.
Though, the naysayers have myopically and irrationally risen up to criticise the appointment of Prof. Jauro despite his eminent qualifications and sterling records of achievements in the academia, various research and development in safety and environment related areas. Luckily, their noises have fallen into the deep ears of the rational majority, and as a backlash their evil intents have failed.
Since assuming the mantle of leadership of NESREA, Jauro has embarked on a paradigm shift in terms of policy formulation and implementation. Of course, NESREA has been hit the limelight for obvious motivation and the face of the agency is rapidly changing for the better.
In fact, those of us who are very conversant with Professor Jauro’s giant strides since assuming office will have no problem dubbing him the best DG since the creation of the agency, and this will still be putting it lightly.
His commitment to the enforcement of the Extended Producer Responsibility Programme (EPRON), for instance, has emerged as a very strong rallying point for technology enthusiasts. Curbing e-Waste has become important because of the excessive damage in health hazards and income that it poses to Nigeria if left unchecked. With this, producers are now mandated by law to take responsibility for their waste all through the life circle of their products.
However, it will be Prof Aliyu Jauro’s dogged commitment in ensuring that those who pollute the environment under whatever guise are arrested and prosecuted that will come to be fondly remembered as his best legacy. But before going full focus, the DG consulted widely even among traditional rulers. This was done to make the people, through the traditional stools, realise that a safe environment is the responsibility of everyone. This, I am sure, is also why NESREA has also charged youths to play an active part in the agency’s march towards ensuring a safe Nigeria for all to live and work by joining the agency’s green party to sensitise Nigerians about environmental pollution.
For the first time, NESREA accredited environmental consultants now face the risk of having their licenses revoked if it is discovered that they leg deep in professional misconduct capable of misleading the agency into issuing clearance certificates to clients shadily audited. It was to ensure that everyone involved in this unwholesome practice is made aware of the consequences that Prof Jauro organised a 4-day induction cum refresher courses for new and existing environmental consultants.
This same tenacity has been brought to the all-important endeavour of water safety. Prof Jauro has made it clear that ensuring safe water for Nigerians, especially at the backs of scary numbers, is non-negotiable. To this end, he has engaged stakeholders and his counterparts at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to collaborate towards achieving the global goal of clean, safe water for all.
It is no surprise then that Prof Jauro’s NESREA has emerged as a very strong partner of the United Nations and has secured the Global Economy Facility Funded Circular Economy Approaches for the electronics sector in Nigeria. Through this multi-million-dollar approach, NESREA and partners are looking to create a robust, self-sustaining circular economy approach for electronics. This is, among other things, aimed at restating Nigeria’s commitment to enforcing environmental protection laws and, most importantly, to ensure that Nigeria makes a quick break away from the roll of nations reduced to destinations for e-Wastes by unscrupulous nations of the world.
Indeed, the NESREA stewardship of Prof Aliyu Jauro has put Nigeria firmly among serious nations. And nothing typifies this seriousness better than the blend of safety and economic viability that the DG is striking; his strategic partnership with other government agencies like Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to drive his policies and strategies towards achieving the one goal of making this nation a robust economy signposted by the commitment towards a safe living and working environment. It is this commitment that is rekindling the faith of international organisations on the ability of Nigeria to do the needful and lead Africa into a future that is edging towards green and self-sustaining societies free of all forms of artificial pollution.
With Prof. Jauro, serious leadership is flourishing in the NESREA, various development partners have been trooping into the agency’s head office, strategising for better and healthier environment while the DG himself has gone round all the agency’s zonal and state offices to boost the morale of staff.
The Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, and the permanent secretary of the ministry were recently at the NESREA head office and many callers have paid similar visits. Last Wednesday, the agency, in partnership with Xploits Consulting Limited and Access Bank Nigeria, organised a one-day sustainable stakeholders meeting with the theme “e-waste management in Nigeria: creating a roadmap for efficient engagement.”
NESREA stands to be more productive and engaging with Professor Jauro at the helm of its affairs.
Suleiman writes from Kaduna