The issuance of Environmental Impact Assessment certificates by state governments is illegal, the Federal Government has said.
It stated this on Monday following the rising cases of issuance of EIA certificates by different agencies of state governments, stressing that it was the sole responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Environment to issue such certificates.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, said this on the sidelines of the 7th National Regulatory Dialogue on the implementation of national environmental regulations organised by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency in Abuja.
Mohammed, who was represented by the Director-General, NESREA, Dr. Lawrence Anukam, urged state environmental agencies/authorities to work closely with NESREA and charged them to shun undue rivalry, competition, as well as refrain from undermining federal laws and regulations.
She said, “We want to point out those regulations that are not getting enough implementation and a typical example is where you have the issue of preparing environmental reports. Some states are not doing it right. For a situation where a state government knowingly or unknowingly carries out an environmental impact assessment, that is wrong!
“It is purely the responsibility of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Environment, and it is backed by law. It is only the Minister of Environment who has the right to issue an EIA. It is not the responsibility of the states and a situation where any state is carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment; that is totally against the law.
“Therefore, in a meeting like this, we try to explain this because they (states) have a responsibility to follow and obey the law. They can assist or make inputs, but in terms of conducting the process or issuing the certificate, it is essentially a responsibility of the Federal Government as enshrined in the EIA Act.”
When asked to name some culpable states, Mohammed declined, but stated that “at different times, we’ve noticed some cases that flout the Act, but we explain the situation to them and many of them are beginning to realise the need to follow the federal laws as they should.”
On the objectives of the dialogue, the minister said it was organised to promote harmony and cooperation among regulatory agencies at the federal and state levels, provide a platform for information sharing, identify factors that impede national environmental laws, strategise on the way forward and make concrete recommendations.
“Federal and state institutions have their areas of strength; so, let us collaborate and leverage on them for the benefit of environmental governance in Nigeria,” Mohammed said.