Following some reservations expressed by the Ogun State Chapter of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on the recently introduced Water Abstraction Regulation by the State, the government has stated that the regulation was constitutional.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Olumide Ayeni disclosed this at a meeting between the State government and executives of MAN, Ogun State Chapter in Abeokuta.
Ayeni noted that by virtue of provisions in Section 20 of the 1999 constitution, the State government has constitutional obligation to formulate policies on environmental protection for the benefit of its people, adding that, Water Abstraction Regulation was equally enshrined in the State Environmental (miscellaneous) Law, 2004.
He said the State Law on environment provides for review of the exact charges on water abstracted for commercial usage, subject to the approval of the State Executive Council.
“Because something has not been done in the past does not mean that there is no basis for it being done now. When it comes to the rates that are given for water abstracted, there might be basis for discussion as to what is being charged. But as to the legal or constitutional basis, there is no doubt that the State government will not do anything outside of what the law allows us to do. And that is what we have done with this regulation,’’ he submitted.
Also speaking at the meeting, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, who mediated between the Ministry of Environment and MAN on the issue, reiterated government’s commitment at providing a conducive environment for industries, saying, the law was already in place and would be implemented, calling on the technical committee constituted by both parties to focus on working towards a win-win situation in respect of the regulation.
In his submission, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Bolaji Oyeleye said, his ministry would continue to engage MAN on the issue for mutual understanding as its overall goal was to achieve its set objectives on environmental protection.