No state government, institution can issue EIA certificate, FG declares

The Federal Government has declared that no state government or institution has mandate to issue the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) certificate to telecommunication companies before erecting their base stations anywhere in Nigeria, except the Federal Ministry of Environment.

It, therefore, said that that was why the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was established to ensure strict compliance with all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, as well as standards and regulations in the country.

The Director-General of NESREA, Dr. Lawrence Anukam, who made this declaration at the 7th National Dialogue on the Implementation of National Environmental Regulations, held in Abuja, added that telecommunication operators have now realized the need to cooperate with the agency, especially on EIA before erecting their base stations.

According to him, “Initially, we were not getting it right; but in recent times, most telecom companies are beginning to follow the rules in terms of making sure they conduct the environmental studies, the EIA even before erecting their masts. But we still notice one or two infractions and when we do, we try to follow up appropriate actions.

“All the same, there have been a lot of improvements better than it was years ago,” he stressed.

In her speech, the Minister of Environment, Hajia Amina Mohammed said the regulatory dialogue was to discuss information on how best stakeholders could ensure compliance with environment safety programmes.

“NESREA is an enforcement arm of the Federal Ministry of Environment and is mandated to enforce all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in Nigeria and to prohibit processes and the use of equipment or technology that undermine environmental quality.

“It has responsibility to enforce compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions and treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory. But NESREA cannot carry out these functions effectively without the collaboration and cooperation of other sector players,” she added.

She described the forum as a platform to strengthen alliance and fine-tune strategies for environmental protection and sustainable developments.