Nigeria’s Ministry Of Environment Wants Environmental Impact Assessment Act Reviewed

The Publish What You Pay-Nigeria (PWYP) on the 28th day of February, 2017 visited the Federal Ministry of Environment to seek their support in integrating Human Rights into Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Post Impact Assessment (PIA) Policies in Nigeria. The visit became fundamental arising from the PWYP commissioned study, “improving environmental impact assessment and audit processes in Nigeria – a legislative and policy review perspective” with funding support from CORDAID, Netherlands. The study identified the gross violation of human right abuse in extractive activities in Nigeria and the need for reform in the environmental sector.

The Ministry has the primary responsibility to oversee environmental Impact Assessments in Nigeria. In view of that, PWYP-Nigeria believes, they will play a key role in ensuring that Environmental, Social and Human Right Impact Assessment (ESHIRA) is adopted and implement in Nigeria biannually.

During the advocacy visit, five Deputy Directors, Seven Assistant Directors and two Environmental Impact Officers met with PWYP-Nigeria team. The PWYP team had Mr. Taiwo Otitolaye, the North Central Coordinator, who represented Mr. Ononamadu, the National Coordinator, Mr. Patrick Chiekwe, the South-South Coordinator, Mr. Paul Ogwu, the Program Officer and Mr. Chima Williams, a lawyer, the lead researcher of the commissioned study.

At the meeting, Mrs. R.A. Odetoro, Assistant Director, Environmental Impact Assessment, on behalf of the ministry, promised to work for the review of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, a legislation that gives a legal framework to environmental issue leading to reform in the sector to include Human Rights components instead of dwelling only on social and economic impacts alone. According to her, the review of the Act will be elaborate in order to address holistically identified challenges facing the sector. The Act, when reviewed, will be helpful to PWYP in their efforts to entrench Human Rights in environmental impact assessment, particularly in oil and gas sector as well as solid minerals.

Mrs. Odetoro and her colleagues at the meeting recognised the importance of engaging with PWYP, civil society organisations, and host communities in reviewing the Act; they argued, host communities should be involved in the Environmental Impact Assessment design. Mrs. Odetoro disclosed that the draft review is on the Ministry’s website and urge the public to make inputs and suggestions on how to improve the process.

 

Audu Liberty Oseni

Communication Officer, PWYP-Nigeria