Pioneer experts say professionalism, integrity key to environmental consultancy

 

Pioneer experts in the field of environmental consultancy in Nigeria have said that professionalism and integrity are key attributes for success as an environmental consultant.

The experts made the above remarks at an event to mark the fifth anniversary of Greenway Environmental and Public Health Services Ltd, held at the University of Ibadan’s Centre for Sustainable Development on Saturday.

Speaking on the need for environmental consultants, one of Nigeria’s pioneer environmental consultants and Executive Chairman of Jawura Environmental Services Limited, Professor Olabisi Osibanjo, pointed out that: “Finding solutions to environmental problems are multidimensional and cannot be done by just one person or entity. Even government that regulates the environment doesn’t have all the knowledge or the tools. The government will rely on consultants.”

Professor Osibanjo, who was a consultant to the Nigerian government on the 1988 Koko toxic waste dumping said that, “People whose livelihood and survival are threatened by reckless and improper use of the environment can also have their own consultants to confront government if the government is not fulfilling its role.”

He however noted that, “There are many unqualified consultants parading themselves as consultants, and if that is so, the environment will suffer, the people who hired them will not get value for money, and we are all going to be at risk.”

According to him, some people rushed into consulting only for the money.

Professor Mynepalli Sridhar, who began environmental consulting in Nigeria in the 70s, also noted that many “who call themselves consultants are really not consultants. They pretend to be consultants but can’t deliver the goods. They have penetrated government and unfortunately government patronises them. What I expect from a consultant is that he should be knowledgeable and try to find a solution to a problem, and not complicate the problem. Also, in the process integrity should be maintained.”

He added that consultants face “temptations and are susceptible to corruption.”

He said consultants should be economical and not make the client spend more money. “In a developing country that is most important,” Professor Sridhar noted.

Both Osibanjo and Sridhar, however, commended the founder and CEO of Greenway Environmental and Public Health Services Ltd, Professor Godson Ana, for upholding the ethics and standards in the practice of environmental consulting over the years, even as student.

Professor Ana at the event said that the event was to take stock of what his company has been able to achieve in the past five years.

He said that Greenway Environmental and Public Health Services Ltd was the first consultancy firm to combine environment and public health. He said the company has participated in health impact assessment for Federal and state government projects, as well as consulting for corporate bodies such Guinness Nigeria Plc.

Professor Ana, however, noted that the challenge affecting Nigerian companies in general had taken their toll on environmental consultancies also. “It is incumbent on companies to have health, safety and environment departments. Those are the people we do business with. But in today’s Nigeria, businesses are not thriving; the economy is poor and it is affecting the business. But we are not deterred, we are optimistic believing that things will change. It’s all about being resilient.”

The event also had the participation of the Oyo State Ministry of Environment and NESREA, and the establishment of the Greenway Educational Endowment Fund.

 

 

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