*We’re implementing policy soon-NESREA
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- ABOUT three years after expiration of its deadline,the federal government is yet to implement gaseous emissions law in the country.
Recall that in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution,INDC, Nigeria pledged to unconditionally reduce Greenhouse Gas’s,GHG emissions by 20% by 2030, compared to business as usual,BAU emission levels.
It aims to achieve this goal by improving energy efficiency by 20%, providing 13 gigawatts, GW of renewable electricity to rural communities that are currently not connected to the electric power grid, and by ending the flaring of gas.
The government had in 2018, through the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency,NESREA,given January 1, 2019 deadline to fully implement emissions control policy with a view to enforcing environmental laws in Nigeria.
The then NESREA Director General,Dr. Lawrence Anukam, who had vowed to begin the law,had lamented that indiscriminate use of generators for domestic and industrial power supply was daily fueling concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
According to him, population growth and economic activities were increasing proliferation of industries, use of vehicles and generators, which he noted,were resulting in accelerated air pollution globally.
The agency’s current director general,Prof. Aliyu Jauro,has again,hinted of concluded arrangements for take-off of the programme,tagged,” National Vehicular Emission Control Programme,NVECP, and the National Generator Emission Control Programme,NGECP”, respectively.
When implemented, according to Jauro,whose promise is contained in the agency’s document containing achievements in the ongoing year and challenges, would ensure compliance to some national environmental regulations in relation to the control of gaseous emissions as well as ensuring the attainment of Nigerian nationally determined contribution of reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases.
“The Agency has concluded arrangement for the take-off of the National Vehicular Emission Control Programme (NVECP) and the National Generator Emission Control Programme (NGECP),” the document had shown.
” In line with the policy on Ease-of-Doing-Business, the Agency has automated its Environmental Documentation Processes and Registration,”it further read.
It quoted Jauro as saying with the official launch of NESREA Environmental Permit, NESREA Environmental Audit and Environmental Management Plan (NESPAM) Platform on August 30, 2021,the automation has helped to reduce the time needed for processing environmental documents.
” It has also brought about a reduction in paper usage, thereby safeguarding the trees which are cut down for paper production,”he said,explaining that:”The activities successfully automated include: Permitting and Licensing Application / Renewal for Facilities; Environmental Consultants Registration/Accreditation and Renewal/ Certification; Environmental Audit Report Submission, Review and Issuance of Certificate, and Environmental Management Plan Submission, Review and Issuance of Certificate,”he said
On its enforcement activities, Prof. Jauro, said the “agency carries out enforcement exercise to erring facilities, industries and businesses who refuse to abide by set standards and environmental obligations”,said “facilities that have been issued with at least three letters of Notification of Concerns or three Abatement Notices and still refuse to take actions on the recommendations on the concern are sealed, until penalties are paid.”
” Sometime this year, the agency carried out such exercise in 24 States of the Federation where a total of 89 facilities were sealed. Some of these facilities were dragged before the court of Law for appropriate sanctions,”he said.
On implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) which Nigeria is a signatory to,Jauro said about 2,972 pieces of Elephant tusk and ivories have been seized with violators prosecuted.
“This conventions seeks to protect endangered species and was domesticated in Nigeria by the enactment of Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) (Amendment) Act, 2016.
“In enforcing this convention, several seizures of CITES specimen such as Elephant tusk, worked, semi worked Ivory, Pangolin Scales, Rhino Horn etc have been made in collaboration with relevant enforcement Agencies such as the Nigerian Customs Service, National Center Bureau (NCB) Interpol.
Presently, about 2,972 pieces of Elephant tusk and ivories weighing 1,3851.55kg, as well as 74 pieces of non-Elephant ivories weighing 98.50kg and 27 sacks + Leather Bag weighing 290.05kg are in the Agency’s custody as seized items.
“Culprits of these items have been prosecuted by the Agency in the court of law,” he said.
He also said “some months back, the Agency carried out an enforcement exercise in Jabi area of the Federal Capital Territory where endangered birds were seized from wildlife traffickers.”
“The birds were taken to National Park Services while the traffickers were apprehended and made to face the law.
The Extended Producer Responsibility Programme,” he said.
“NESREA has launched and is implementing The Extended Producer Responsibility, EPR Programme”,Jauro explained that:” The EPR is an environmental policy in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of the product’s life cycle.”
” This programme is ongoing in the electrical/ electronics, food, beverage and tobacco; tyres, chemical, metal as well as the Battery Sectors.
“The EPR is provided for in all the relevant National Environmental Regulations and serves as a useful tool for improved waste management and job creation.
“The programme will launch Nigeria into the Circular Economy model in production and consumption processes. The Circular Economy is a cradle to cradle pattern where a product at the end of its use, becomes a secondary raw material for another product. This is different from the Linear model which is from cradle to grave,” he said.
Jauro said NESREA in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was currently implementing a special intervention programme titled “Circular Economy approaches for the Electrical Electronic Sector in Nigeria”.
“This programme is a major aspect of the agency’s drive towards the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programme in the Electrical Electronics sector,” he said.
According to him,”To better equip itself for the effective discharge of its duties especially on compliance monitoring, enforcement, response to public complaints, site verifications among others, the agency has undertaken several projects that are aimed at attaining optimal performance from its workforce.”