FG threatens to sanction state agencies issuing fake EIA certificates | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FG threatens to sanction state agencies issuing fake EIA certificates

Posted: Apr 11, 2015 at 11:27 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Federal Ministry of Environment on Tuesday threatened to sanction any state ministry or agency issuing fake Environmental Impact Assessment (E1A) certificate for environmental projects in the country.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, said this at the news conference in Abuja on the Landmark Judgment Delivered by the Court of Appeal, Kaduna on Dec. 10, 2014.

Mallam was represented at the conference by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Fatima Mede.

The Minister said that it was the responsibility of the ministry to oversee the conduct of an EIA process by a proponent, including the issuance of EIA certificate.

She said that statutory responsibility of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was to ensure that EIA process was carried out.

According to her, it is the responsibility of NESREA that elements/issues identified in the EIA certificate are complied with.

“It is also the responsibility of NESREA to ensure that the environmental audits are carried out in line with the extant regulations and guidelines.

“Since inception, NESREA has been in a thug-of war between the state ministries and environmental agencies over the enforcement of EIA Act.

“A case in point was the civil case instituted against the Kaduna State Environmental Protection Authority (KASEPA) and Helios Towers by NESREA.

“By way of originating summons, NESREA approached the Federal High Court for determination including a declaration that the EIA permit issued by KASEPA to Helio Towers is illegal, unlawful and void.”

Mallam said that the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice M.L. Shuaib granted all NESREA’s relief in a consideration judgment delivered on December 1, 2014.

The minister said that the Appeal Court dismissed the appeal of KASEPA and affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court.

She alleged that the ministry and the state ministries of Environment had always meddled with EIA certificates on several projects.

According to her, the issue of the state ministries meddling with EIA within their domain have been put to rest by this landmark judgment.

“The judgment stated that a state government may by law set up an agency with powers, duties or functions in relations to assessment of the environmental effect of project and activities within its domain.

“But such agency cannot issue an EIA certificate.

“It is only the Federal Government that can issue such certificate.

“The regulated community must also ensure that EIA process is duly carried out before embarking on any development project that may have negative impact on the environment.

“Any EIA certificate must be properly verified by the Federal Ministry of Environment,” she said.

The minister, therefore, called on all individuals, corporate bodies and the state environmental authorities, to cooperate fully with NESREA.

She appealed to the stakeholders to cooperate with NESREA in the enforcement of the provision of EIA Act and other extant environmental laws and regulations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EIA Decree No 86 1992 (now an Act of National Assembly, CAP E12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN, 2010) was promulgated to regulate development processes that may directly or indirectly impact negatively on the environment.

By this Act, no industrial plan, development or activity can be executed without prior consideration of the environmental consequences of such proposed project, in the form of an EIA.

NAN also reports that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) Act was repealed on 30th July, 2007 at the promulgation of the NESREA Act CAP N164 LFN 2010, and the provision of the defunct FEPA Act became domiciled in NESREA. (NAN)