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Consultant makes case for EIA process in Lagos modular refinery project

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Prof. Alhassan Muhammad, the Environmental
Impact Assessment(EIA) Consultant to the Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd proposed
Industrial Park Project, has said that it is difficult to dodge the
“There are series of steps whenever an EIA
is to be conducted. The first being that the proponent gets an EIA consultant,
which they did late last year, and then registered the project with the Federal
Ministry of Environment.

did register this project with the Federal Ministry of Environment in December
2015,” he noted.

The consultant stated this in an interview in Lagos after a stakeholders’ meeting with the host community for the proposed Integrated Oil&Gas Ltd modular refinery in Onisiwo Island, Lagos.  

He explanation was necessitated by an allegation that the company had gone ahead to begin construction at the site without carrying out an EIA at the site.

He said the verification was done at the
site with a representative from the environment assessment department, Federal
Ministry of Environment alongside the EIA Consultant and the proponent.

to Muhammad, the site verification is to verify that no form of development has
started with respect to the proposed project site, which the company did in
January 2016.

Usually, a representative of the Federal Ministry
of Environment then writes his report to the ministry to ascertain that he
has been there and development has not commenced and after, the data base
collection commences, Muhammad said.

He said the data base collection for this project was in
two parts; one in the raining season, the other one in the dry season and at
each step, the Federal Ministry of Environment must be involved.

“We did the dry season data collection between
Jan. 29 to first week February, and the Ministry sent a representative to
ensure that whatever was being done conforms to laid down standard and that was

“Thereafter, from April 4 to April 8, the
wet season data was done and concluded. 
Even at this, there is a ministry representative that stood as a witness in the wet season data collection.

“When this is done, you take your samples
to the lab and you inform the ministry, which also sends a
representative to the accredited lab and watch the proceedings.”

The Consultant said that process would
ensure the analysis is done in a standardised laboratory and the analysis was being
done based on the specified standards.

“So, there is no way you can circumvent
the EIA process. That is the stage where we are now. We hope that towards the
end of this month the first draft report will be ready.

He added that after that stage, a 21-day
display of the proposed project would be done at designated centres to announce
the project take off.

“The project will be advertised in the
media, specifically the print media. When that is concluded, the ministry will
now fix a date and constitute a panel and they will come and sit.

the first duty of the panel on arrival, which is towards the final stage, is to
visit the site. And one of the things they are supposed to verify is to ensure
there is no development yet.

“If you look at the procedures the
ministry follows, there is no way any proponent will circumvent laid down rules
and regulations,” he said.

Muhammad added that the proponent and the
EIA team would be sanctioned if at all there were any violation of this rules
and regulation by the Federal Ministry of Environment.

He said consultants worked professionally
and advised their clients correctly, because on the mistake of running fowl of
the law, the proponent would be asked to get another consultant.

said that construction work had yet started at the site, which is verifiable.

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