Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The National Assembly on Tuesday said achieving a green economy would be difficult if the law setting up the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) is not amended.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Senator. Oluremi Tinubu, disclosed this in Abuja at the 11th National Stakeholdersâ€™ Forum, with the theme: â€˜Environmental Governance: A key to Achieving Green Economyâ€™.
Tinubu who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Foster Ogola, said that environmental governance was key to achieving green economy, adding that the committee is interested in achieving a green economy for Nigeria as well as the Senate and indeed the National Assembly.
According to her, â€œIt is our duty to provide the legislative super structure. When the legal framework or constitutional framework is there, then every other thing will follow. NESREA will be empowered to influence and implement environmental standards that have been set up by the laws of the land.â€
Tinubu noted that environmental governance cannot be left to NESREA alone, stressing that the federal government must be fully committed towards setting the standards.
She stated: â€œNESREA as presently is cannot achieve a green economy unless the law setting it up are amended. In a situation where different parties pollute the environment and some of the pollutants and the polluting agencies are removed from NESREAâ€™s purview, it is difficult to enforce it.
â€œWe need to critically review NESREAâ€™s law, either give everything to NESREA or has sent out in Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), the other agencies being assigned proper responsibility to focus on oil and gas industrial pollution. That is what we have done in PIGB, but we need to clear the grey arrears so that NESREA can handle the remaining governance issue.
â€œMaking Nigeria a green economy, if we donâ€™t get it right through the law and penalties set in that law that will punish those who disobey it, we will not get to where we want to,â€ Tinubu said.
Also, the Chairman of the forum and Chairman, Environmental Resources Managers Limited, Prof. A.M.A Imevbore, said if Nigeria continues to depend on fossil fuel that the country would not achieve green economy.
He added that the country cannot achieve environmental governance by reducing annual budgetary allocation to the sector.