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Deforestation: Nigerian govt seals indicted companies, to prosecute culprits

By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja

Nigerian government on Tuesday said it would begin prosecution of those involving in land deforestation and also seal their companies after they have been indicted.

A former Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan, disclosed this in Abuja while answering questions from newsmen at a valedictory session to mark the end of his tenure as minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to him, China should not blamed for the degradation of the country’s environment, maintaining that many Nigerians involving in such criminal acts should be held responsible.

“You are talking about the activities of China which is degrading our land. It is not only the China; we also have a hand in degrading our land.

“The Chinese saw an opportunity because we are involved. So, the question to ask is, what are we doing to stop the degradation of our environment.

“We have the regulatory agency, that is running after all those degrading our land. Some of them are under going prosecution, some companies are sealed,” the former minister said.

He continued, “Nigeria is just being used as a transit route. We have made efforts to get the addresses of agencies that transport pangoline, so that we can close them and find out where their sources are”.

Speaking on the number of companies involved in the clean-up of Ogoniland, he reiterated that 21 companies are still handling the project.

He explained that 16 companies, which were earlier cleared and awarded contract to, moved to site and switched into action.

Hassan further clarified that the contract was within the ministerial tender board threshold, and they were treated as such.

“The threshold of the big five had to go to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval,” he noted.

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