The Federal Government on Thursday commenced the review of Nigeria’s environmental guidelines and produced 15 new ones to ensure effective Environmental Impact Assessment process.
The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, announced the new guidelines in Abuja at the national stakeholders’ validation workshop on the production of new environmental guidelines and revision of the existing ones.
Jibril, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Shehu Usman, said the workshop would come up with a world-class document that would enhance environmental assessment in Nigeria and also ensure conformity with international standards in view of the dynamic nature of the environment.
He explained that the Federal Government had on December 10, 1992, promulgated Decree No. 86, which is now known as the EIA Act CAP E12 LFN 2004, and made it mandatory that EIA studies be carried out for all new major development projects in the country with the Federal Ministry of Environment as the apex body regulating, implementing, coordinating, monitoring and certifying environmental permits in Nigeria.
Jibril said, “It is, therefore, important to remind you that this EIA Act has been in operation in Nigeria for the past two decades and as such, a number of gaps have been identified. As a result of this, the ministry is currently reviewing the Act, and deems it necessary to develop new environmental guidelines and revise the existing ones”
The minister, however, stated that it was pertinent to note that the guidelines under review were derived from the existing EIA Act that hitherto did not adequately address the global emerging environmental issues such as Strategic Environmental Assessment and incorporate climate smart decisions.
“Therefore, the need to renew the guidelines and even develop new ones cannot be over emphasised, especially considering the dynamic nature of our environment,” he added.
Jubril told participants at the workshop, who came from different states and government Ministries, Departments and Agencies that the overall objective of the meeting was to incorporate all the stakeholders’ inputs into the existing guidelines and validate the 15 new ones under consideration.
He said the 15 new guidelines under review include:
- The EIA procedural guidelines
- Guidelines for strategic environmental assessment
- EIA guidelines and standards on social impact assessment
- EIA guidelines for health impact assessment
- EIA guidelines for oil and gas upstream (large volumes, base deports, tank farms, terminal and flow stations).