Globally, environmental degradation is becoming increasingly evident.
Undoubtedly, it is a threat to human existence. These challenges may likely persist and even intensify unless drastic measures are taken by the government to protect the ecosystem.
It is a very critical role of the government to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.
The government responsibility with regard to environmental protection is enshrined in Section 20 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which provides thus: “The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wildlife of Nigeria”. Thus, the State’s power to protect and manage the environment is derived from the Constitution-“ the grand norm”.
The need for aggressive environmental protection and conservation of the natural resources in contemporary society and Enugu State, in particular, cannot be over-emphasized; and to drive this all-important mandate to an appreciable success, the government has to play invaluable roles.
In Enugu State, the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources is the Ministry saddled with the responsibility to oversee the environment and the natural resources in the State.
It used to be the thinking of most of the Enugu People and its residents that the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources is just all about waste disposal and cleaning of Enugu City (the ESWAMA job). This is because the critical roles of the Ministry have been in obscurity and the people have not felt their presence in other areas within their purview due to the indifferent attitude of the past administrations to the performance of the Ministry.
However, the story is different presently under the administration of Rt.Hon.Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who has appointed a man who knows his “onions” very well to head the Ministry in the person of Hon. Barr. Chijioke Edeoga, former Commissioner for Ministry of Local Government Matters. The notable reforms and track record of Hon. Chijioke Edeoga in the Ministry of Local Government Matters is numerous and indelible.
Hon. Chijioke Edeoga likes his boss Rt. Hon. Ugwuanyi possesses transformative leadership character such that whatever they touch, gets transformed. With the Midas touch of Hon. Edeoga in the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry is now back on track for optimal performance.
Enugu has been repositioned on the part of a serene, clean, conducive, and aesthetically pleasing environment.
Under the present administration, people have come to realize that the mandate of the Ministry of Environment goes beyond waste disposal and cleaning of Enugu City.
It is worthy of note that the present administration under Rt.Hon.Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has taken drastic measures to regulate and sanitize the chaotic outdoor advertising regime in Enugu through the establishment and inauguration of a new agency known as Enugu State Structures for Signage and Advertising Agency ( ENSSAA). This new agency which is under the supervisory jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is the first of its kind in the South East and the South-South States and its mandate amongst others is to bring order and restore the beauty to the skylines of Enugu. The agency is ready and passionate about sanitizing the signage and outdoor advertising in the State.
It is crystal clear that the present administration is fully determined and has demonstrated the ingenuity, capacity, competence, commitment, readiness, and the political will to give the Ministry a new leadership direction geared towards full actualization of the mandate of the Ministry which includes but not limited to wastes disposals, environmental pollution abatement, cleaning of Enugu City but also extended to general environmental protection, conservation of the natural resources and attainment of sustainable development.
Recently, due to the increasing and uncontrolled degradation of the natural landmarks and resources in Enugu, the Ministry took a bold step and issued a stern warning to those distorting our hills and deforesting our environment to desist from such un-friendly environmental activities or face the wrath of the law.
We have seen many of such nefarious and un-friendly environmental activities in the past years without any such action from the appropriate authority, but the present administration had the right person on the job is determined that things must be rightly done in the State.
This is the way to go and it is the right step in the right direction. We cannot continue to watch our environment collapse irredeemably.
The government should intensify its efforts and more drastic measures should also be taken to ensure that the environment and the natural resources are protected from degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and unsustainable developmental activities so as to mitigate the environmental crisis and the effects of climate changes.
There are increasing human pressures on the ecosystem and this increase has counter-reactions on the environment. In this regard, the need for public support for environmental protection and conservation of natural resources is inevitable.
The people must play complementary roles as it will be wrong to think or assume that environmental protection and management are solely the responsibility of the government. All hands must be on deck for us to achieve appreciable success in environmental protection.
The fact still remains that environmental hazards have trans-boundary effects. They recognize no boundary, community, town, or village. Their effects have no respect for anybody irrespective of status, class, or social affiliation.
So the sustainability of natural resources is critical to ensuring rational uses, management, and conservation of the natural resources in Enugu State.
With the undiluted commitment, determination, insight, and inspiration of the present administration, there are clear and informed directions to environmental management; and hope is rekindled in Enugu with regards to living in a clean and conducive environment; and conservation of the natural resources in Enugu.
While we use the environment to meet today’s needs, let us not compromise the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs.
Indeed, Enugu State is working