Operation Green Justice - Newsreel

 

Class-Action Lawsuit for Environmental Negligence Imminent  - WIEF

 

 

Alex C. Ikefuna - Director, Operation Green Justice

The Director of WIEF's Operation Green Justice, Alexander C. Ikefuna, says that plans are now in place to initiate class-action lawsuits against government contractors and the administrations that engage them in order to exact accountability and remedies for their many willful acts of negligence in managing our shared living space throughout the foundation's target area. The vastly experienced expert in regional and municipal planning as well as in local government management in the US justified this unprecedented move because of "wanton negligence that resulted in death of innocent people, loss of millions of dollars in properties, means of livelihood and business revenue and displacement of residents of the erosion-ravaged communities and flooded housing estate at Onitsha".

The Operation Green Justice leader emphasized that "this lawsuit is about negligence on the part of the state government to protect the people from the threat of erosion; failure to maintain the drainage systems at Onitsha which resulted in the destruction of 500 housing units and businesses, included associated deaths."

 

Housing Estate (shown in above aerial map) was inundated in July 2009 due to failed "dredging" of Otumoye/Nwangene Creek

 

With blockage of Otumoye/Nwangene Creek drainage, flooding is inevitable in Fegge 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silas Works Road & Zik Avenue junction suffers annual flooding during rainy seasons. Whole area is deserted as traders and roadside artisans flee the devastated neighborhood for months at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stagnant flood water in picture covers most of the Silas Works and Ochanja neighborhoods for many months of the rainy season. Population of pests, especially flies and mosquitoes, increases several folds and severely afflict the health and well being of residents of the area and entire business community.

 

 

 

 

 Whole premises can be submerged under feet of dirty water mixed with sewage & debris

Explaining further on key objectives of the imminent legal action, Ikefuna clarified that "the lawsuit would seek compensations for the victims, attorney fees, including mandating the government to enact sweeping legislation to mitigate environmental degradation and erosion, as well as institute aggressive public education on environmental protection, compliance requirements at all the local governments and mandatory establishment of regular maintenance schedules for all dams, drainage systems and catch basins".

 

Operation Green Justice Director stated that "it is gross injustice for law-abiding citizens to be denied their inalienable right to a clean, safe and healthy living space without which survival itself becomes an impossible task for many, particularly those who occupy the bottom rung of society".

He observed that the Federal Government of Nigeria promulgated various laws and regulations to safeguard the Nigerian environment. These include Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act of 1988 (FEPA Act). The following regulations were enacted pursuant to the FEPA Act: National Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitation) Regulations, National Environmental Protection (Pollution Abatement in Industries and Facilities Generating Wastes) Regulations, National Environmental Protection (Management of Solid and Hazardous Wastes) Regulations, Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 1992 (EIA Act), Harmful Wastes (Special Criminal Provisions) Act of 1988 (Harmful Wastes Act). FEPA Act also empowers each state and local government in the country to establish its own environmental protection body for the protection and improvement of the environment. Each state and local government is further empowered by the Act to make laws to protect the environment within its jurisdiction.

The urban-planning expert is certain that the Onitsha Estate flooding disaster occurred because the state government "failed to formulate appropriate laws and regulations designed to meet the requirements of the FEPA Act and therefore, did not implement mandatory compliance requirements supported by enforcement. This inept, inaction and pervasive negligence resulted in loss of lives, properties, means of livelihood and displacement". He chided the Obi administration for diverting "local government allocations, part of which would have been used for to implement measures against flooding".

 

 

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