Certainly, no appointment in Nigeria ever gets past the scrutiny of ethnic champions who always have a thing or two to point out in support of their rather caged mindset or idea of who ought to be appointed, detailing which divide of Nigeria the appointee must emerge from. So, it was not surprising that Professor Aliyu Jauro’s appointment to head NESREA was greeted in fierce but discordant tones by the usual suspects.
However, seeing what the young professor has achieved so far and how he has made them swallow their criticism of his age and other inconsequentials, one wonders if these myopic lots have the courage and responsibility to tender the apologies that I believe the good professor has earned from them.
No matter, Nigeria now owes Professor Jauro’s NESREA a debt of gratitude for several daring policies and transformation the environmental chemist has brought to bear on the charge to position the country among nations that are serious about their environment.
In fact, those of us who are very conversant with Professor Jauro’s elephant 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 enforcing the Extended Producer Responsibility Programme (EPRON), for instance, has emerged as a very strong rallying point for technology enthusiasts. Curbing e-Waste had become important because of the excessive damage in health hazards and income that represents on Nigeria when 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 Jauro’s dogged commitment in ensuring that those who pollute the environment 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 monarchs, realise that a safe environment is the responsibility of everyone. This is probably why NESREA has 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 Jauro organised a four-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 ministry of water resources to collaborate towards achieving the global goal of clean, safe water for all.
It is no surprise then that 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, among others, is aimed at restating Nigeria’s commitment to enforcing environmental protection laws and most importantly to ensure that Nigeria makes a quick break from the roll of nations reduced into destinations for e-Wastes.
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, and his strategic partnership with other government agencies like 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.
Of course, some of these goals will take a while to materialise, but they will invariably be linked to the inputs visionaries in the league of Prof. Jauro, who saw the future and made the decision to subscribe to the global best practices, that posterity will remember kindly.
As for those who only expect failure from people, Prof. Jauro must be a greatly hated individual to them right now. But, between working for one’s country and incurring the wrath of small-minded people who only expect failure and caving into ethnic obliqueness championed by desperate position seekers devoid of any initiatives that leave lasting imprints in the sands of time, smart nations will settle for the latter. Prof Jauro is that latter who will relish being hated by few enemies of Nigeria while the majority of us for whom he denies himself sleep appreciate his immense contributions to the all-round environmental safety of this nation.
Ikilima writes from Kaduna.