The panel review exercise on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed seismic data acquisition on the Bida Basin straddling Kogi, Kwara, Niger States and the Federal Capital Territory by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd has been held in Minna.
Speaking in the opening remarks, the Minister of Environment, Barrister Muhammad Abdullahi observed that the project which falls under the oil and gas sector of the economy is one that would improve revenue drive and provide employment opportunities for the youths.
The Minister who was represented by Dr. Musa Gashau of the Ministry, however said extensive environmental and socio-cultural degradation and loss of fertile lands and agricultural soil do accompany the exploitation of land for cash and food crops, coupled with extraction and beneficiation of the mineral resources.
The Minister stressed that to achieve the desired goals and objectives, the Federal Government of Nigeria has put in place the necessary institutional frameworks and instruments for intervention at every level.
Barrister Abdullahi pointed out that a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment for major seismic activities was necessary in an environmentally friendly manner.
Also in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai, Professor Abu Kasim Adamu, said that Environmental Impact Assessment was to ensure protection and conservation of natural resources, especially human health, stressing that this would bring about sustainable economic development.
Professor Adamu disclosed that to allow exclusiveness and individual capacity development in research, both IBBU Lapai and FUT Minna deployed over thirty researchers drawn from academic and non-academic staff of both sexes, senior and junior to the field.
He pointed out that with the engagement of the NNPC in the Bida Basin, Niger State Government has also continued to support the hydrocarbon potential evaluation in different ways.
The Vice Chancellor who agreed that Environmental Impact Assessment must be performed on new projects and for expansions of existing ones as the law requires, maintained that to identify main environmental effects, a profile of the environment was necessary.
The panel review which elicited comments, observations, questions on the project presentation also had presentation of gifts to officials by the Vice Chancellor of IBB University.