By Haruna Salami
A bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment of the Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB.353), was passed by the House of Representatives shortly before the House went on recess.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Livinus Makwe, who represents Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi, told journalists in Abuja Thursday that the idea of the bill was “borne out of the critical need to respond to issues of climate change which according to him is something that Nigeria must take very serious as there are already serious scientific evidences that climate change may in fact, be the greatest challenge confronting humanity”.
The Bill, which is currently waiting for the concurrence of the Senate before it is forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for his Assent, will help different sectors of the Nigerian society, to “protect our environment, which is our most enduring resources as the Bill seeks to establish an Institute charged with the responsibility of regulating and managing environmental practices in Nigeria”, Maker said.
According to him, “Nigeria is already facing series of environmental challenges ranging from desert encroachment, erosion, oil spillage, flooding and many other environmental issues that pose serious threat to the economy and lives of Nigerians”.
Explaining how the bill will work when it eventually becomes law, the lawmaker said that the “Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria will regulate the way human actions affect our environment.’
He added that just like other professional bodies, the Institute will ensure that people respect the laws that regulate all manner of constructions, agricultural practices, and activities of extractive industries as well as individuals in relation to sustainable alteration of the natural environment.
“The Institute will operate independent of the government, but will have representatives of various government ministries and agencies including, representatives of the Ministries of Environment, Health, Petroleum Resources, Agriculture and Works and Housing.
“Other agencies of the government that will be part of the Institute’s board are Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria and the National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency of Nigeria (NESREA). Nigerian Environmental Society and the Waste Management Society of Nigeria will also be part of the institute’s council for effective environmental management action.”
The passage of the bill followed the unanimous support of the lawmakers in the House, who had earlier considered its details and unanimously approved at the House’ Committee of the Whole.