Saturday, 27 March 2021

Bill to Contain Environmental Pollution in Nigeria Scales Third Reading in Reps

By Moses Idika

A bill seeking to enhance the protection of the natural environmental in Nigeria, especially from activities of crude oil exploration has scaled third reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill titled, "A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Act, 2006; and for Related Matters (HB. 351)" sponsored by Hon. Livinus Makwe is intended amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA)(establishment) act of 2006.

Hon Makwe who represents Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while enumerating the details of the amendment to the NOSDRA Act  stated that the new act when it eventually becomes law will: "Introduce 2.5% statutory deduction from Ecological Fund annually as funding for the agency for procurement of oil spill response equipment and materials, management of oil spill disasters and remediation of impacted sites arising from 3rd party interference such as vandalism, oil theft, etc

"Provide statutory power for the agency to charge adequate fines and penalties in line with present day realities and also to serve as deterrent to offenders and ensure strict compliance with existing environmental legislation in the petroleum sector.

And provide that "the governing board be expanded to include [specific] important and relevant agencies like NIMASA instead of Ministry of Transport, Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA) instead of Ministry of Aviation, Nigerian Environmental Society, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria."

According to the lawmaker, other areas of the NOSDRA act that is affected by the new amendment include to "Give the agency power to enter premises with a court warrant and the responsibility to inspect records of integrity tests of pipelines and storage assets of oil companies to ensure that they are fit for purpose."

The amendment now also provides "that NOSDRA has responsibility to monitor the process of decommissioning and abandonment to ensure that there is spillage in the course of the exercise."

With the scaling of third reading in the House, the bill will now await final legislative actions including concurrence in the Senate before being presented to the President for assent.

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