Opinion

Opinion: corruption and its effects on our environment

Source: Faith of Life Networks

Every human being is a product of the environment. Corruption is perpetrated by man, its attendant consequences will certainly have negative impacts on our environment.Wikipedia defines corruption as “a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefits.”

Wikipedia defines corruption as “a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefits.”

In Nigeria, corruption has become systemic, hence the passionate drive by this administration to confront it head on.
A story was told of an organisation, whose output was below par. A performance audit was carried out. The report indicates that ” certain workers had been discovered to undermine the company, and they will be revealed at the general meeting the following day.”  Everybody was eager to know the culprits. Early the following morning, all the workers were asked to file past a box where the names of the culprits were displayed. As each man looked into the box, they quietly walked away as each man saw a reflection of himself in a mirror placed inside the box.

Everyman is guilty of the low performance of the organisation. So is the issue of corruption in Nigeria. Everybody has a role to play. We are guilty either by omission or by commission.

The ecological funds meant to combat erosion, deforestation, land remediation or ocean surge is usually expended on other things that gratify the operators personally. The long term effect of this corrupt practice can be very catastrophic on the environment!

There are instances where a masterplan of a community is very well prepared and it is approved for implementation. As the estate gets matured and it becomes a choice place for people to live in, people who missed out on the allocation will begin to mount pressure on the development authorities to assign a plot for them at all cost. The authorities will succumb to such pressure and allocate areas earmarked for open spaces, greenbelts gardens, and recreational parks. The estate then loses its green allure and further compounding the scourge of climate change!

Back in the day, every settlement in Lagos had a big recreational park.There was Race Course and Campus Square on the island, Rowe Park and another Popular Park in Ebute Metta. The railway residential estate had beautiful parks. Lagos had lots of greens particularly Ikoyi and Victoria Island. The present Park View Estate used to be Ikoyi Park. The Marwa Garden Estate was designed for a recreational park before it was converted by the military administration into a residential estate.

Other glaring cases of corruption adversely affecting our environment are the indiscriminate location of places of worship at locations not designated for such activities.The planning authorities do get compromised and allow such infractions to stay thereby overburdening the existing infrastructure and blighting the whole environment!

The Vehicle Inspection Officer who releases a vehicle that fails an emission test only compounds the air pollution within the city.

Contractors paid to generate power renege on agreements perhaps because of their interests in Power Generating Set Company. The whole environment is polluted with smoke from all types of generators. This has caused untold health hazards to millions of people whilst quite a number have died as result of lung infection occasioned the toxic environment.

Source: Heinrich Böll Stiftung

In planning, statutorily certain areas are designated for wetlands, public-private green belts, and conservation. Often times when the custodians of these areas are compromised, they allow some greedy developers to public-private partnership with the Government at the detriment of its effects on the biodiversity and the ecosystem of the area.

When an oil company prospects for oil in a field, the vegetation and ecosystem is usually disturbed.A plan for remediation is usually set up to clean up such areas, but usually the people who are meant to carry out the remediation bribe their way without carrying out any remediation.

The list is endless as our environment is endangered. We have enacted laws to protect the environment, but usually the problem is with monitoring and strict compliance.
Complying with environmental regulations imposes on firms, costs that can be avoided through bribery.e.g.logging in the rain forest, ground water pollution, air pollution, soil erosion, or climate change,t he effects which can be global and intergenerational.

The watchdog institutions that should scrutinize government performance, such as ombudsmen, field officers, external auditors and the press, may be ineffectual because they can easily be compromised.

We need to strengthen our institutions  and create practitioners whose loyalty is to the cause of humanity rather than what they stand to benefit. The earlier we began to think deep before taking actions about our environment, the better it will be.

Submitted by Gbenga Onabanjo for Go-Forte Foundation