The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday considered a bill to address the problem of erosion in the country, with special focus on the South-East.
The bill which scaled second reading seeks to establish the Erosion Control and Prevention Commission.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah in his lead debate on the bill, said the establishment of a Commission for the purpose of erosion control and prevention had become imperative in view of the catastrophic impact of erosion in several parts of the country.
“In the southern part of the country, erosion is responsible for the widespread destruction of transportation and communication systems, degradation of arable land, contamination of water supply, isolation of settlements and migration of communities.
“From available statistics, more than 3,500 gullies occurred in the south east states alone. These gullies are formed by surface runoff from localised rainfall event of high intensity in the fine-to coarse-grained sand and sandstones,” Ubah said.
Citing a World bank survey carried out on Nigeria in 1990, the lawmaker stressed that “erosion is one of the three main environmental problems facing Nigeria.”
According to him, the study noted that “gully erosion causes damage with an annual cost to the nation estimated at =N=800 billion naira.”
Senator Ajayi Boroffice, in his contribution , however kicked against the establishment of a Commission for the purpose of erosion control in the South East.
According to the lawmaker who is the Deputy Senate Leader, an amendment to the Ecological Fund to accommodate the erosion problems in the South East would address all challenges faced by the region.
Senator Rochas Okorocha while throwing his weight behind the bill said the commission when established, would not only address the erosion challenges faced by the South East, but also every other part of the country affected adversely by such environmental challenge.
In his remarks on the bill, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said, “the debate tended to sway whether we need a Commission or not but the fact is we have to address the ecological challenges we have in the country.
“If we have gully erosion that is destroying the lands in various parts of the country, especially in the south east, then we have to do something, whether it is a Commission or not. I believe that there are other ecological challenges in other parts of the country,” the Senate President said.
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Environment.
Other bills which scaled second reading on the floor during plenary on Tuesday are: Nigerian Local Content Development Enforcement Bill; a Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the National Transport Commission as an Independent Multi-Modal Economic Regulator for the Transport Industry; and a Bill for an Act to amend the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency Act.
Source: Voice of Nigeria