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Environmental impact assessment in Nigeria: regulatory background and procedural framework Nerry Echefu and .E Akpofure

Case Study

7

ABSTRACT As a consequence of the illegal dumping of toxic wastes in Koko, in the former Bendel State, in 1987, the Nigerian Government promulgated the Harmful Wastes Decree which provides the legal framework for the effective control of the disposal of toxic and hazardous waste into any environment within the confines of Nigeria. This was immediately followed by the creation of a regulatory body, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) in 1988. FEPA is charged with the overall responsibility of protecting and developing the Nigerian environment. To put this into action a National Policy on the Environment was developed. This is the main working document for the preservation and protection of the Nigerian environment. States and Local Government Councils were also encouraged to establish their own environmental regulatory bodies for the purpose of maintaining good environmental quality as it applies to their particular terrain. The EIA Decree No. 86 of 1992 is an additional document with the same aim of protecting the Nigerian environment. It is particularly directed at regulating the industrialization process with due regard to the environment. By this Decree, no industrial plan/development/activity falling under the FEPA’s mandatory list can be executed without prior consideration of the environmental consequences of such a proposed action, in the form of an environmental impact assessment. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), an arm of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, recognizing the national importance of the oil and gas industry sector to the continued growth of the Nigerian economy and realizing that the continued exploitation, exploration and production of the oil resources has serious environmental impacts, also decided to set out comprehensive standards and guidelines to direct the execution of projects with proper consideration for the environment. The DPR Environmental Guidelines and Standards (EGAS) of 1991 for the petroleum industry is a comprehensive working document with serious consideration for the preservation and protection of the Niger Delta, and thus the Nigerian

See Topic 2
UNEP EIA Training Resource Manual
Law, policy and institutional arrangements

63
UNEP EIA Training Resource Manual

®

Case studies from developing countries

environment, in the course of searching for and producing crude oil. The EIA tool is also mandatory for a greater part of the oil E&P activities. But a detailed examination of the various statutes, and the framework for the EIA process in particular, and the entire environmental regulatory process in general, reveals that many of the statutes are very much at variance with intentions, especially as they affect the execution of functions. There is duplication of functions and overlapping responsibilities in the processes and procedures guiding the execution of the various impact assessment tasks. Consequently, serious bottlenecks and bureaucratic confusion are created in the process. The result is a waste of resources, financially and materially. This paper examines the statutory regulatory framework for the EIA process, and the inadequacies and misinterpretations of the various statutes, which have often led to delays in the execution of EIAs in Nigeria. An attempt will be made to streamline these various responsibilities through a reorganization of the regulatory environmental framework. This way, it is hoped that the bottlenecks and wastage of resources will be eliminated. INTRODUCTION Nigeria (Africa’s most populous nation), independent since 1960, occupies an area of 923,768 km2 with varied climates and seasons. Presently, its estimated population is over 100 million people. Prior to oil, agriculture (before 1970) was the economic mainstay. With financial resources available from oil and no...
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