NACGOND de­cries de­lay in Buhari’s as­sent to NOSDRA bill

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Daniel Adugbo

The Na­tional Coali­tion on Gas Flar­ing and Oil Spill in the Niger Delta (NACGOND), a coali­tion of civil so­ci­ety groups, has raised con­cerns about the de­lay in the sign­ing into law of the Na­tional Oil Spill De­tec­tion and Re­sponse Agency (NOSDRA) Amend­ment Bill 2018 by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari.

The group said there was no bet­ter op­por­tu­nity for the Pres­i­dency to show com­mit­ment to a pol­lu­tion­free Niger Delta than now, by as­sent­ing to the bill.

The NOSDRA Amend­ment Bill 2018 which has been passed by the Na­tional Assem­bly and is cur­rently be­fore Mr Pres­i­dent, seeks to in­crease NOSDRA’s ca­pac­ity to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and re­spond to spills. The bill also pro­vides for in­creased fund­ing for the agency and to en­force in­creased fines that will en­cour­age greater en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­count­abil­ity.

Speak­ing at a one-day work­shop on ‘Re­duc­ing En­vi­ron­men­tal Degra­da­tion in the Niger Delta through Im­proved Oil Spill Re­sponse’, the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor of NACGOND, Rev. Fa­ther Ed­ward Obi, said the bill will strengthen the in­sti­tu­tional and reg­u­la­tory ca­pac­ity of NOSDRA to proac­tively man­age spills.

Also speak­ing, the House Com­mit­tee Chair­man on En­vi­ron­ment, Mr. Obinna Chi­doka, said the Na­tional Assem­bly would have no op­tion but to veto the pres­i­dent should he de­cline to as­sent the bill.

“If he fails to as­sent, that means he has to bring the pro­vi­sions he doesn’t agree with. He prob­a­bly would write to say he doesn’t agree with this or that but if what he doesn’t agree to is to the heart of the bill, the Na­tional Assem­bly will do the need­ful,” he said.

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