Tina Ezin, Calabar
Federal government of Nigeria has banned the use of PCB Oils known as transformer oil, used by power sector operators, threatened to prosecute offenders.
Environmental Sound Management and Disposal of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Project Nigeria made the disclosure in Calabar at a Training and Capacity Building Workshop for State Counsels, Regulatory Officers, Power Operators and Custom Officers on Application of PCBs Regulations and Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of PCBs.
The consultant through the Federal Ministry of Environment, Project Management unit for Elimination of PCBs in Nigeria, Prof. Babajide Alo explained that PCB has been proven by research worldwide to be toxic thereby causing health challenges to both men women and children.
He said the workshop was to sensitise Nigerians on the dangerous effect of using the PCB oil which is mostly used as domestic oil in form of groundnut oil.
Prof. Alo disclosed that prohibition of the oil has just been gazetted and the federal ministry of Environment is taking steps to ensure that every body become aware of this.
” This workshop is to sensitise Nigerians that the federal government has banned the use of PCBs and decided that there will be serious penalties including long jail term for anyone found either handling or transporting PCBs.
“It is unfortunate that people think they are not coming in contact with transformer oil but we now realised following a survey carried out by the Federal Ministry of Environment that this oil, is used by roadside Akara (beans balls) sellers without knowing it is toxic and dangerous.
” But now with this exercise of sensitising senior regulators, policy makers from all the electricity operators, to alert them on the fact that PCB Oils have now been banned; therefore, anybody found storing, transporting or using it will suffer a penalty.” He warned.
In a telephone interview with Newsmen, one of the resource persons, a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Dr. Oluwatoyin Adejonwo-Osho, also disclosed that PCB oil has been proven to have negative effects on the reproductive system of women that have direct contact with it in contaminated environment.
According to her, the regulation prescribed jail term for individuals who go against the prohibition while for cooperate entities, strict penalties awaits them for violating the law.
In his welcome speech, the Project Coordinator, PCB ESM D, Mr. Olusanya Olubunmi said although PCBs has had a long history of useful applications in many facets of human life, such as in the power sector, studies have shown that it is harmful to the environment and human health.
Speaking further, he said there is an ongoing call for the global action of its control across the world.