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LASG SEEKS BUY-IN OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT INITIATIVE

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday charged all Engineers at the Local Government levels to ensure the incorporation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) into every project and policy before implementation.


The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Omobolaji Gaji, stated this during a stakeholders’ engagement workshop for Council Managers and Engineers on mainstreaming of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) into infrastructure development initiatives in Lagos State, held at LCCI Event Centre, Ikeja.


Dr. Gaji maintained that Environmental Impact Assessment is a critical environmental management tool that must be embraced by all sectors across the State, adding that the objective of the meeting was to discuss the critical role of (EIA) in the strides toward sustainable development in the State.


“Dear participant, you will agree with me that it is no longer news that Lagos remains the preferred destination for many businesses operating within the various sectors of Nigeria’s economy. This is cheering news as it opens the State to economic prosperity, on the other hand, it comes with various types of environmental challenges”, he said.


He said the establishment of industries, creation of settlements and construction of infrastructure all come with huge adverse environmental impacts ranging from pollution to irreversible environmental degradation if not properly managed.


The Permanent Secretary averred that it is for these reasons that the Government, through the Ministry of the Environment & Water Resources, adopted the application of the EIA process in ensuring sustainable implementation of development projects in the State in line with global best practices.


He submitted that the cost of doing the right things is cheaper than the cost of correcting the consequences of refusal to do them, stressing that the Ministry’s awareness drive for participation and compliance with the EIA process in the State was to enlighten all stakeholders.


Gaji reiterated that the Government cannot afford the huge cost of addressing environmental degradation and ecological challenges resulting from unwholesome project development activities.


He expressed worry that while the Government continues to see improvements in the level of compliance from the private sector, the same cannot be said of the public sector, adding that most Local Governments & Local Council Development Areas have continued to execute projects without the EIA processes.


Emphasising that the government developed Citizens Guide on EIA to educate the public and provided required information on the EIA process in the State, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that the Ministry has also embarked on stakeholder engagements in several local government areas with the latest held in Badagry LGA, where the EIA Report of the Badagry Deep Seaport and Free Zone project was discussed. He hinted that workshops for other LGAs and LCDAs would soon commence for the year. 

Earlier, the Director of the Environmental Assessment Department, Dr. Olasunkanmi Sojinu, spoke on the EIA process in Lagos State, saying parts of the process include submission of a letter of intent and terms of reference for the conduct of EIA for the proposed project.


He stated that the process also entails a review of terms of reference, registration of the proposed project with the Ministry by obtaining the project regulatory form, and site verification for an assessment of the nature, size and sensitivity of the site amongst others.
 

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