Foremost commercial lawyer and pioneer chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Section on Business Law, SBL, Mr. George Etomi, has called on Nigerians to pay serious attention to environmental laws to improve the quality of life of Nigerians.
Etomi spoke at the public presentation of a book “Appropriate Mechanisms for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development in Nigeria-An Advocate’s viewpoint” and a get together in honour of the retiring Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, Dr. Ngeri S Benebo.
He commended the achievements of the NESREA under Dr. Benabo, saying that her doggedness and passion for the safety of the environment led to the passage of over 24 environment related bills into law by the National Assembly including.
Etomi said: “Under her brilliant leadership, NESREA has developed 24 environmental regulations, on behalf of the Federal Government, which have been signed into law and published in the Official Gazette of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“One of such regulations is the National Environmental (Control of Vehicular Emissions from Petrol and Diesel Engines) Regulation, 2010, S. I. No. 20, which is aimed at controlling the country’s air quality. A World Health Organisation report revealed that in 2012 about seven million people died as a result of exposure to air pollution. Nigeria has over 10 million vehicles and three million motorcycles and is clearly not excluded from this statistic.
The carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and Nitrogen oxide emitted from these automobiles also causes skin cancer, cataract asthma and other respiratory diseases as well as impacting negatively on the ozone layer and global warming.
“To combat these negative effects, NESREA is at the implementation stage of its pilot Vehicular Emissions Testing Programme under the leadership of Dr. Benebo. The programme involves a mandatory yearly test of vehicles for toxic air emissions, and the installation of emission reduction technology in all vehicles plying Nigerian roads.
This will control toxic gas generated by vehicles on Nigerian roads. NESREA will carry out these tests in collaboration with other government agencies. Vehicular emission testing centres are to be set up soon in Abuja and other parts of the country.
“The Vehicular Emissions Testing Programme will greatly aid in the reduction of Nigeria’s carbon emissions to internationally acceptable standards. It will also help bring Nigeria at par with the developed nations which all run similar programmes. Another side benefit of reduced carbon emissions is that Nigeria would be able to earn carbon credits for trade on the global stage.