The Cross River State Environmental Protection Agency (CRSEPA) has condemned in strong terms, the increased destruction of the environment across the state through water/air pollution, artificial erosions/flooding, cutting down of forest reserves, emissions and other ecological threats or disasters; maintaining that the agency shall henceforth come after defaulters.
Speaking shortly after an interactive section with all Directors of the Agency in Calabar, the Director General (DG) Dr. Egbai Ogbo in an interview with our correspondent thanked the Governor, His Excellency, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade for the confidence reposed on them to run the Agency. He further stated that the responsibility to protect, promote and maintain a sustainable environment for Cross River State is an onerous one, adding that they all must reciprocate same with hard work, dedication, steadfastness and transparency of purpose in executing this task.
The DG also lamented on the inordinate misuse, unfriendly and wicked ways people within the state abuse the environment out of sheer ignorance, greed, wickedness and selfish personal gains; adding that “the environment is our common heritage and we must work hand in gloves to prevent same from imminent destruction as it remains our source of livelihood and sustenance, hence we must collectively protect it from abusers who have become the common enemies of our dear state”.
According to the Director General, Egbai Ogbo, he has structured and activated the different directorates/sub units of the agency for ease of administration and operation. He assured the public that plans are underway to increase awareness and sensitisation on environmental safety, promotion and protection across the 18 LGAs of the state. Especially in rural areas where the knowledge level is relatively low and practices of bush burning, cutting down of trees and water poisoning for fishing activities still persist.
In his words: “We have been able to decentralise the agency by activating the different directorates/sub units of the agency for ease of administration and operational convenience to achieve maximum productivity”.
“We have also prgressed our plans to carryout massive orientation and reorientation of the people’s psyche and perception of the environment and it’s preservation. Internal and external stakeholders’ engagement; especially community leaders living in the rural areas, educating them on appropriate ways of putting the environment to use while avoiding it’s destruction thereby contravening the enabling environmental laws. The urban stakeholder dwellers are also in the focus bracket, thus engaging with them will drive further the need for environmentally friendly businesses and activities in our urban areas for healthier existence.”
“The Agency is here to help our people interact with the environment gainfully without destroying it, rather preserving and protecting the lands, clean water, our forests and clean air for our use, our children’s use and the generations yet unborn to inherit.”
He further noted that the agency will no longer be tolerating defaulters of our environmental laws and shall penetrate all the ‘nooks and crannies of the state to locate, arrest, fine or prosecute perpetrators of anti -environmental acts whose activities are causing ecological disasters. He further stated that even the environmental rates and levies shall be reviewed in line with the current realities of today. According to him, “we have designed strategies to enforce and recover all the environmental rates and levies provided under the enabling act establishing the agency”.
In another development the Director, Ecological Preservation and Special Duty of the Agency, Hon. Ekuma Ngwu also thanked the Governor and His Deputy for finding them worthy, assuring the government and the general public of his best to safeguard and protect our ecological reserves for the living and even our generations unborn.
Hon. Ekuma, commends the DG, Dr. Egbai Ogbo for the robust display of leadership capacity, vast experiences and uncommon innovative ideas as well as his collaborative disposition; saying that these attributes of the DG will certainly bring about successes in achievement and attainment of the Agency’s goals and objectives.
Others present at the meeting were: The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Environmental Protection, Hon. Moses Osoji and all the Directors appointed by the Governor to run the Agency.
With this development the Agency will be shaking the waters for a state-wide positive environmental change for the betterment of all in the State.