Only a month after the President laid the foundation stone for the 2nd Niger Bridge, work has been suspended on the site.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam explained that the government had made the mistake of commencing construction without consideration for the Environmental Impact Assessment Law, EIA. According to her, this was responsible for the suspension of work on the bridge.
The Environmental Impact Assessment Director, Mr. Kehinde Odusanya, also said “Because of the national interest in that particular project, the Federal Ministry of Works had to request for an interim approval just to commence preparation activities.”
Normally, these assessments are done at the very preliminary stages of any development process. This process is even reportedly being carried out for the 4th Mainland Bridge, which has not been completely finalised, which arguably demonstrates the lack of organisation with those in the 2nd Niger Bridge development team.
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment Decree (No 86 of 1992), the objectives of any environmental Impact assessment (hereafter in this Decree referred to as “the Assessment”) shall be –
- To establish before a decision taken by any person, authority corporate body or unincorporated body including the Government of the Federation, State or Local Government intending to undertake or authorise the undertaking of any activity that may likely or to a significant extent affect the environment or have environmental effects on those activities shall first be taken into account;
- To promote the implementation of appropriate policy in all Federal Lands (however acquired) States and Local Government Areas consistent with all laws and decision making processes through which the goal and objective in paragraph (a) of this section may be realised;
- To encourage the development of procedures for information exchange, notification and consultation between organs and persons when proposed activities are likely to have significant environmental affects on boundary or trans-state or on the environment of bordering towns and villages.