The Lagos State Government has stated that, henceforth, all individuals, public and private project owners/developers must undergo the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and obtain EIA approval on every project before implementation or face the full weight of the Law.
Speaking during a media parley in Alausa at the weekend, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, said the time has come for all projects to be subjected to EIA at the conception stage because of the multifarious benefits.
He stated that Environmental Impact Assessment is a formal process for identifying the likely impacts that may arise from a proposed activity of a project on the environment, human health, and social-economic activities.
Bello stressed that EIA helps in identifying the likely adverse and beneficial impacts of a project on the host environment and aims at putting in place measures to mitigate those negative effects.
“It is also a critical environmental management tool that must be embraced by both private and public sector to achieve sustainable development”, he added.
The Commissioner explained further that the establishment of industrial facilities, creation of new settlements, and construction of infrastructures come with huge adverse environmental impacts ranging from pollution of various environmental platforms to sometimes irreversible environmental degradation if not properly managed.
Maintaining that Lagos remains the preferred destination for many businesses operating within the various sectors of Nigeria’s economy, Bello attributed the trend to the business-friendly policies of the State over the years.
“Lagos provides a huge market for goods and services coupled with the doggedness of the administration to provide necessary infrastructures and enabling environment for businesses to thrive”, the Commissioner said.
He said the preference can be likened to a two-sided coin as it comes with both benefits and challenges, stating that on one hand, it opens the State to economic prosperity and growth while on the other, it comes with various types of environmental and social challenges.
Expressing concern that many projects are ongoing in different parts of the State without consideration of EIA and EIA Approval, Bello said the action of project owners or developers is tantamount to undermining the government’s efforts at protecting the State Environment and safeguarding public health.
The Commissioner noted that, globally, Environmental Impact Assessment has become a decision-making tool to protect the environment and Lagos State cannot be an exception.
He said Government has, therefore, adopted the application of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (EIA) process to ensure sustainable implementation of development projects in the State in line with global best practices.