At the National Environment Health Business Forum held in Abuja with the theme “Developing Sustainable Environmental Health Business Model in Support of Nigeria’s Economic Diversification Drive,” Dr Yakubu Baba, the Registrar of Environment Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), stated 10,000 new jobs will be generated in Nigeria’s environmental health sector. According to Dr. Baba, the goal of the Business Forum is to create an environment that will encourage the private sector to participate and make investments in the nation’s environmental health.
The business forum held was also modified as a direct result of the new law because they believe that the Government cannot ensure environmental health on its own in light of the consolidation of the legislation that established the council. Therefore, they need also to create an environment that encourages the private sector to come and contribute to their quarter by making it easier for them to do so. Dr Baba explained that the environmental health sector is filled with a lot of opportunities, and after three days of their deliberation, those jobs should be created.
Goal is to promote the best environmental practices.
EHCON has also launched two authentication documents in order to promote and guide environmentally sustainable business practices in Nigeria. According to the registrar, the newly released document will serve as the definitive authority on licenses issued to companies in Nigeria that are in the business of providing environmental health services. It would enhance the country’s supervision and control measures already in place. Dr. Baba added that the Gazette membership would be the most effective way for the council to publish the list, as it would also allow the general public to learn more about who among them is an Environment Health Practitioner.
More so, another document which is the second that is issued by the minister is the seal. As Health Officer makes use of public health law as their legislation, they have many documents that need to be signed to be legal. The validity of those documents is needed to obtain one’s signature on them legally. Now however, they will use their seal in place of the signature; as a result, any legal document issued by any practitioner that does not have a seal is invalid and ineffective.
Environmental Health practitioners will not be recognized without a seal.
Speaking on the organization’s transition of name from the Regulations Council of Nigeria, EHORECON, to the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria, EHCON. Dr. Baba explained that the name change resulted from an amendment to Act No. 11 of 2002, which originally established the council. He mentioned that on September 6, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new law that created the new name. With the change in name came new responsibilities for the council, which is now responsible for enforcing rules on 21 different components of environmental health, including those related to food safety, abattoir sanitation, sanitation in the hospitality industries, international regulations and so on, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, stated that the document would assist environmental health practitioners in regulating their activities. According to him, the Nigerian Government and other public offices will not acknowledge any document from Environmental Health practitioners unless it is sealed. The minister of the Federal Ministry of the Environment presented and launched the official gazette on behalf of the ministry, which made evident the publication of members authorized for membership practitioners of Nigeria. This is significant because it elevates the professionalism of membership and puts an end to the practice, which has been widespread in Nigeria, of individuals posing as Environmental Health officers in order to provide media reports or consultancy services without actually being certified to do so.
The Government has made significant efforts to raise public awareness.
Dr. Edwin Isoto-Eden, WHO representative in Nigeria, stated that the program would assist in assessing and examining how business models would generate jobs that might create opportunities to lower unemployment in Nigeria. When examining Nigeria’s environmental context, one will discover that environmental risk factors account for 9% of the national body of disease there. Naturally, climate change cannot be discussed without examining the factors that makeup cleaning products: the environment, social inclusion and economy. In the same view, Joanna Tarnawska, the ambassador of Poland to Nigeria, noted that the Nigerian Government had made significant efforts to raise public awareness of environmental issues and protect the environment and promote environmental health.