Last updated on August 17th, 2023 at 05:21 pm
Who is the Minister of Environment?
Ishak Salako from the Southwest is the Minister of State, Environment and Ecological Management. Meawhile, the Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management is a slot for Kaduna State and the APC excos in the state is yet to come up with a unanimous candidate to represent the state in the cabinet of Bola Tinubu.
There are numerous environmental issues in Nigeria as a result of oil exploration, most especially in the Niger Delta region where the country generates most of its revenue.
To address the environmental degradation and population in the region and other parts of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Environment was established by the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.
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Origin of Nigeria’s Ministry of Environment
The event of 1987 at Koko Village “temporarily” raised the consciousness of Nigeria’s government for the need to have a special ministry that will rapidly attend to environment-related issues.
In 1987, during the military regime of Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), an Italian ship loaded with toxic waste, loaded in several drums headed to the Koko village, in Delta State, South-South geopolitical zone of the country, to deposit the toxic waste there.
The village, a symbol of neglect and poverty, ignorantly accepted to allow the toxic waste to be “kept” in their community.
Italy, according to a report, could not process more than 20 percent of the toxic waste it generated, it shipped the rest to third-world countries that have poor maritime management.
Two Italian firms were in Koko, a fishing village, to negotiate and arrange how 18,000 drums containing dangerous waste would be stored in the poor community.
Mr Sunday Nana agreed that his plots of land be used as storage for the killer waste. The firms offered him $100 per month to allow the chemicals on his land.
The chemical would later kill Nana (throat cancer) while hundreds of residents in the community developed one complication or the other ranging from heart attack to cancer.
Although the two firms lied to Nana and the community that the contents of the drums were building materials, Nana should have been worried about why the Italian firms chose a remote community as a preferred location.
Most of the drums carried the letter “R” which means toxic and harmful industrial waste in the international convention.
It also raised an issue of neglect on the part of the military regime of Babangida or there could have been a foul play somewhere that later resorted to a global embarrassment.
A test conducted by a British environmental group, according to a report by Stephanie Buck, confirmed that 28 per cent of the drums had polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), a combustible that could produce a highly toxic compound called dioxin.
30 years after the sad incident, Prof. Lucky Oritsetojumi Akaruese of the University of Port Harcourt and a former National President, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, said Koko community “can never recover” from the toxic saga in an interview published in March 2018 by The Punch
An Agency was birthed
Because of the embarrassment and devastation caused by the Koko toxic waste, the Babangida regime promulgated the Harmful Waste Decree 42 of 1988.
The decree facilitated the establishment of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) through Decree 58 of 1988 and 59 (amended) of 1992.
The core mandate of FEPA was environmental management and protection, making Nigeria the first African country to come up with a parastatal to control environmental protection.
And by 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime merged FEPA and other relevant Departments in other Ministries to form the Federal Ministry of Environment
Key Functions of the Environment Ministry in Nigeria
1) To effectively address all issues related to environmental pollution
2) To limit to the barest minimum the negative impact of pollution
3) To develop a road map and implement policies that will enable Nigeria and its people to live in harmony with the environment.
4) Promoting sustainable use of natural resources.
5) To ensure that waste is properly managed in accordance with global standards.
6) To mitigate the effects of climate change
7) To adequately protect natural resource conservation for sustainable development.
8) To draft and execute environmental standards and regulations that align with global best practices.
9) To develop an eco-friendly environment and biodiversity conservation
10) To ensure that degraded land is brought to usable property through its reclamation and rehabilitation efforts.
11) Cooperating with relevant MDAs, International organizations, and stakeholders on environmental matters.
12) To raise environmental consciousness among Nigerians
How serious is Nigeria’s ministry of environment to ensure a safe environment?
To achieve its goals, the Federal Ministry of Environment started some laudable initiatives which include:
- Green Bonds
- Clean and Green Initiatives
- Clean Energy Initiatives
- Great Green Wall Programme
- Ogoni Cleanup
- Nigerian Erosion & Watershed Management Project
Agencies of Nigeria’s Ministry of Environment
With its numerous roles and mandates, it has seven parastatal or agencies under the ministry: They are:
- National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA)
- National Park Service (NPS)
- Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN)
- National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW)
- National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA)
- Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON)
- National Oil Spill Detection And Response Agency (NOSDRA)
|Parastatal||Year of establishment|
|NESREA||1988 (as federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA)|
Roles of Agencies of Nigeria’s Ministry of Environment
Environmental management and protection
To manage Nigeria’s national parks, and other conservation and historical properties
To conduct research into all aspects of Forestry, Wildlife Management, Agroforestry and Forest Products Utilization.
To address land degradation and desertification and support communities to adapt to climate change
To provide a regulatory framework that will safeguard human health and the environment from potential adverse effects of modern biotechnology
To regulate Environmental Health profession in Nigeria
To ensure compliance with all existing environmental legislation and the detection of oil spills in the oil-producing states in Nigeria.
Federal Ministry of Environment Headquarters, Mabushi, Abuja.
- Website: environment.gov.ng
Past Ministers of Environment in Nigeria
- Dr. Iyorchia Ayu
- Chief (Mrs) Helen Esuene
- Halima Tayo Alao
- Nduese Essien
- Mr. John Ogar Odey
- Amina Mohammed
- Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar
- Ishak Salako (state)
The environment isn’t doing enough to address environmental issues in Nigeria. There are several villages where illegal mining activities take place across the country, the ministry of Environment needs to work with other ministries like the Ministry of mines and steel development to address some of the environmental issues from gold mining.
It may be understandable why the ministry’s 70% attention is on the Niger Delta region, it’s time to it realises that there are some areas in the non-oil producing states where environmental violations need urgent attention.
- Featured Image credit: Guardian Nigeria