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NIGERIA: House Of Rep Tasks States on Ecological Fund Projects

The House of Representatives Wednesday charged the Ministry of Environment in the 36 states of the Federation to monitor closely projects being executed through the Ecological Funds in their domains to ensure that they were not abandoned but  completed to the  benefit of the people.

The charge came same day stakeholders endorsed a bill seeking to regulate the location of telecommunication masts and minimise the radiation of electromagnetic waves on the environment.

Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, gave the advice when the Commissioner for Environment in Niger State, Mallam Umar Mohammed Nasco, paid a courtesy  visit on her at the National Assembly complex.

Nasco, accompanied by  principal officers of the state Ministry of Environment were at the House to seek the  cooperation of  the Environment  Committee  in tackling  environmental challenges in the state.

Ekwunife said there was need for synergy between the federal and state governments if the various environmental and ecological challenges facing Nigeria must be resolved.

She said all projects initiated to solve environmental problems in various states should be taken seriously as that was the only way to halt the drift towards disaster in the environment.

She said the whole world was going green by taking steps to protect the environment, adding that Nigeria cannot be an exception.

The delegation had earlier requested for support in the area of public waste management, erosion and flooding of communities in the state.

According to Nasco, Niger State being a gateway to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had peculiar environmental challenges due to its closeness to Abuja and the rapid urbanisation that had occurred in the state.

He also asked for support for the actualisation of the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC), which he said, would help alleviate the sufferings of about 200 local communities located near hydro-power dams in Niger State.

The commissioner noted that the dams were built without the necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to safeguard the interest of the people and their environment.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the communications sector have endorsed  a bill for an act to provide for the protection of humans from certain levels of electromagnetic fields.

At a public hearing on the bill, the Ministry of Information, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), telecommunications companies and the Power Holding Company (PHCN) expressed support for the passage of the bill into  law.

They were, however, unanimous in their submissions that the law had become imperative to safeguard the lives of the people and prevent ailments that could result from over exposure to electromagnetic waves fields in the country.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, Hon.  Abiodun Akinlade, observed that the effect of electromagnetic fields had become a source of concern  to experts since the advent of the GSM and other communication devices in the country.

These experts, he said, had postulated that electromagnetic fields have negative health implications on human beings, stressing that there was need to explore ways of reducing these impacts to a tolerable level.

“It is the need to regulate this electromagnetic emissions that prompted the House to introduce this bill.

“It is well recognised that there are established biophysical mechanisms that could lead to health effects as a consequence of exposure to very strong fields.

“For frequencies up to, say, 100 kHz the mechanism is stimulation of nerve and muscle cells due to induced currents and, for higher frequencies, tissue heating is the main mechanism. These mechanisms lead to acute effects,” he said.

According to him, the bill when passed will establish limits on human exposure to electromagnetic fields that would provide protection against known adverse effects from any installation or devise emitting such electromagnetic fields.

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