The Minister of Environment in Nigeria, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril has urged the stakeholders in the environmental sector to bridge the institutional and legislative gaps noticed during the implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, who represented the minister in Abuja, gave the advice at a workshop organised to review the EIA Act. The minister said that during the implementation of the EIA Act, which has been in operation for over two decades, a number of gaps, omissions and inadequacies were identified. “As a result of this, the ministry, being the apex regulatory body for the protection and conservation of natural resources in Nigeria, has initiated series of consultations.
“The aim is to revise and prepare the EIA law for amendment so as to expand its legislative coverage, while incorporating emerging and global issues into the Act.“This workshop is, therefore, organized to bring to an end the several attempts by the ministry to come up with a draft revised EIA Act, which suits the needs of the country and meets international standard, for all sectors of the economy to operate,’’ he said.
He urged the stakeholders to brainstorm at the workshop and come up with a rich document that would stand the test of time.
According to the permanent secretary, the review of EIA Act is important because it sets procedures and methods to facilitate prior consideration of EIA of certain public and private projects.“It also gives powers to the ministry to process EIA projects and programs,’’ he added.
Mr. John Alonge, the Director of Environmental Assessment Department in the ministry, said that the workshop was to make EIA process in the Nigeria less cumbersome, more result-oriented and timely.
Alonge also said the workshop would also aid efforts to align Nigeria’s the EIA procedures with international best practices, while removing factors limiting the EIA process in the country.