Thursday, September 4, 2014

ADDRESS BY THE PIONEER CHAIRMAN OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICERS REGISTRATION COUNCIL OF NIGERIA, ALHAJI (DR) MUHAMMADU YUNUSA DANYAYA OON ON THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY OF NEW BOARD MEMBERS

 11TH AUGUST 2014.
Protocol
It is my honour and privilege to address this very true august gathering
as the Chairman of the pioneer Council of this our great profession of
Environmental Health Officers. I have a feeling of fulfillment in being
here today to witness this inauguration of the second governing Board of
our great Council. I have looked forward to this day with utmost passion.
The last two years of our Board dissolution has seemed eternity going
by the necessity and import of the Governing Board to the growth of our
young profession.
When we were inaugurated in the year 2004, there was almost nothing
to build on. I remember informing the then Hon. Minister and Council that
the assignment given to us was to revive a dead profession. There was
no government establishment, no staff, no office accommodation, zero
funding, and a profession and professionals in disarray. We had to start
from the scratch in establishing the register of persons in the practice of
the profession and reaching out in advocacy to government, the general
public as well as the practitioners themselves who knew very little about
the nitty-gritties of professional regulation.
Today, we can point at a rented office accommodation at the center and
six zonal offices nationwide, we can also display and categorize
practitioners of environmental health according to sub-professional lines,
sex and age, geography and standing with the Council or any other
characteristic of interest. We have also improved greatly on the
standards of professional training and practice of the profession in
Nigeria. The Minimum Bench Mark for training of environmental health
officers in Nigeria Universities from the National Universities
Commission, new Curriculum for OND & HND, Practice Guide for
environmental health officers in Nigeria, Disciplinary Committee Rules
issued by the former Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Dahiru
Mustafa GCON and the Disciplinary Committee Assessors Rules issued
by the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello 2
Adoke, SAN. These are some of the lasting achievements recorded by
Council during our tenure.

I Thanks the Almighty Allah for guiding the Council. I wish to publicly
acknowledge that the Council had a committed young man in the
personality of the pioneer Registrar (Mr. Augustine Ebisike). He worked
very hard greatly complementing our efforts in founding the profession.
Let me quickly add that Mr. Ebisike has potentials yet to be tapped and I
make bold to commend him for other higher appointments in the service
of our dear nation.
The urgent challenges I see the new Council will be facing are
challenges of professional misconduct by members that needs to be
dealt with, poor recruitment by government at all levels as it seems there
is an “understanding” to allows Environmental Health Officers go into
extinction in the Federal Ministries and parastatals where their numbers
have dwindled from over 1000 in the 1980s to less than 50 this year.
Their numbers in the various states and LGAs is not in any way better.
I have no doubt, given the calibre of people in the current Board of the
Council that the challenges both listed and yet to be encountered will not
alter the path to Environmental Health regaining its pride of place in the
scheme of things in the professional service delivery in the Country. This
I am sure Mr. President saw in assembling this worthy team under the
Chairmanship of an erudite Scholar, experienced bureaucrat and
esteem statesman – Professor Oladapo Afolabi MFR.
I must at this point commend the President and Commander in Chief of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele
Jonathan GCFR for his leadership. The gift of the current Minister of
Environment – Mrs. Lawrentia Laraba Mallam, and the current Board of
the Council is true to Mr. President as a visionary leader and an
environmentalist to the core. Mr. President, I am happy that you treasure
environmental health as a key to the actualization of your cherished
Tranformation Agenda. What remains is for your co-pilots namely – state
governors and Local Government Chairmen to see this noble profession
through your eyes. In doing this, the National Assembly and their
counterparts in the other tiers will give the profession the needed
legislation it requires for effective service delivery.3
During our tenure, we favourably enjoyed the support of the Federal
Ministry of Environment throughout out tenure in the Council. Even when
there were regime changes at the center and the Ministry, our level of
support and patronage never dropped.
Before I end this address, Hon. Minister, permit me to make this parting
request to Mr. President; “I want to hear during the next Council
inauguration that the Federal Ministry of Environment has a fully staffed
Directorate of Environmental Health which will model for states and local
governments to copy, and a fully staffed environmental sanitation
commission centrally controlled but with activity in all local governments
and wards in Nigeria”.
Thank you, Hon. Minister, Chairman of Council, Ladies and Gentlemen
for listening.
HRH Alh. (Dr.) Yunusa M. Danyaya OON.