The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act, first enacted in 2007, has been amended to empower the agency in the protection and development of the environment.
The new Act, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, gives the agency discretionary powers and authority to promptly tackle perceived environmental threats, pollutants and other vices, a statement from the agency said.
According to the statement, the revised Act also empowers the agency with strong deterrents such as the imposition of stiffer penalties and fines against a wide range of environmental crimes, such as illegal trafficking in wildlife, endangered species and poaching.
Under the amended Act, law officers of the agency can go ahead and carry out their duties particularly where delay may pose threat to human life and the environment.
“Unlike in the past where environmental crimes attracted paltry fines and levies, with the amendment of the new law, the courts are now at liberty to impose stiffer fines that are commensurate to the gravity of the crime,” the statement said.
Recall that the 1986 Koko Toxic Waste case attracted next to nothing by way of penalties, thereby allowing unscrupulous businessmen who almost turned the nation’s entry points into dumping ground to go practically scot free.
As observed, the new NESREA Act will considerably improve the ability of the agency to police the environment thereby ensuring environmental sustainability.