OYO State Government has arrested and prosecuted no fewer than 650 environmental offenders, as part of efforts to prevent environmental degradation and promote better well-being of its citizenry.
Chief Isaac Ishola, the State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, disclosed on Tuesday during an inter-ministerial briefing held at the Film Theatre, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Ibadan.
It was reported that the state government through the House of Assembly has enacted several environmental laws and regulations aimed at promoting a clean and investor-friendly environment.
Ishola stated that no fewer than 650 offenders has been arrested and prosecuted for various environmental offences, ranging from noise pollution, water pollution, air pollution and environmental sanitation.
“We have evolved policies and laws to ensure the state emerge as one of the cleanest in the country, likewise an investor-friendly state.
“We have arrested and prosecuted 400 street-trading offenders, 250 improper waste disposal offenders, two poultry farms, four illegal rearing of domestic animals and a Piggery farm.
“We have also relocated Temidire Plank Market to Fasade due to its.
He stated that the ministry has begun environmental sanitation and public health services, which included daily, weekly and monthly monitoring and enforcement activities.
Ishola said that the ministry engaged the services of 100 ‘YES-O’ cadets to complement the existing workforce and also established two mobile courts to ensure efficiency.
“Public health issues such as improper disposal of Solid Waste, Street-Trading, destitute management and street begging, house to house sanitation inspection are being carried out.
“Let me inform the Public that workable strategies have been devised to control and enforce compliance of these activities; the cooperation and understanding of the Public is hereby humbly solicited,’’ he said.
The commissioner explained that ministry has also begun strict enforcement of the law on air and noise pollution, so as to reduce its adverse effects on the citizenry.
According to him, air and noise pollution emanates from religious and commercial houses at the detriment of public health.
“We have engaged stakeholders, such as Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Christian Association of Nigeria, League of Imams and others in several meetings.
“The purpose has been to enlighten them and demand full compliance.
“Today, while we have on record significant level of understanding and compliance, several stakeholders are yet to comply.
“This led to the sealing up of three Churches for flagrant contravention of the law,’’ he said.
He appealed to the people to put aside religious and political sentiments and obey the law for the good of everyone.
“Solid Waste Management is now under a private-driven innovation requiring engagement of Private Waste Contractors by the government and each property owner having individual waste bins and paying to the officials of the state government only.
“The additional value chain is the activities to convert the waste to wealth and energy in a well-packaged integrated waste management programme.
“It has the potential to cause economic boom to Oyo State and generate a number of economic means to at least 2000 people,’’ Ishola said.
The commissioner said that the ministry has been very active in the area of erosion and flood control by carrying out activities such as inspection and control of drainage facilities.
“We have been enforcing observance of building codes and set-backs. We have also dredged 36 rivers in Ibadan Metropolis to minimise impacts of the flood incident.
“Among the affected areas and dredged rivers were Orogun/Agbowo stream, Upper Ona-River (Ajibode), Egberi River (Olodo) Jenriyin Stream (Kute) and back flow into Agodi Lake,” he said.
Ishola acknowledged the receipt of 40 requests from communities to extend dredging operation to their areas, adding that the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project and the ministry are currently working to effect the requests.
The briefing was attended by Mr Toye Arulogun, the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Yomi Layinka, Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication and Strategy.