Commission,Tambuwal urge review of EIA laws

THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday called for a review of the environmental impact assessment legislation in the region.

Speaking at the international summit on environment organized by the Uche Ekwunife- headed House Committee on Environment yesterday, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Oueraogo stressed the need to review the EIA legislation across the region to enable easy implementation of the law. He said the summit will contribute to bringing to reality, Article 3 of the ECOWAS treaty which states, amongst other things, that members should establish appropriate institutions to protect and preserve the environment. Oueraogo was represented by Samuel Oladele, the adviser on environment to the ECOWAS Commission.

The summit with the theme: “Enhancing legislations for the effective Implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in West Africa was meant to, amongst other things, create an avenue for sharing local and international experiences towards ensuring effective administration of environmental impact assessment.

Tambuwal, who expressed concern over the several environmental challenges facing Nigeria and other countries within the sub-region, including oil pollution, flood and erosion, air pollution, water pollution, land degradation, noise pollution and solid waste, stressed the need to promote environmental justice by ensuring a minimum standard of environmental quality for all citizens.

“We are at the same time burdened with global warming and sea-level rise due to climate change. We also face the problems associated with trans-boundary movement of hazardous and polluting substances.”

All these problems have direct or indirect link to our quest for industrial development. Consequently, environmental degradation arising from the depletion of our natural resources, due to our quest for industrialization and urbanization needs to be checkmated and regulated. Thus, the Federal Government of Nigeria, prior to the day, has been able to domesticate the EIA Act 86 of 1992.”

The Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Ekwunife, in her opening speech noted that the only way forward in terms of environmental sustainability is to continually enhance the legislation to effectively address emerging issues and current realities.
“Members of the Legislature have a responsibility to address the weaknesses and shortcoming in the EIA Act, We should strengthen the law to make it more effective. We should significantly increase the penalty/ sanction stipulated in the Law. This is necessary and will act as deterrent to erring facilities as well as companies,” she said.

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