The Nigerian government in September 2009 commenced the dredging of the lower River Niger, without respect or compliance with the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act, 1992.
1. The EIA for the project was done in 1999, approved in 2007, project commenced in 2009, ten years after.
2. The dredging project will cover 3 geo-political zones - South-South, South-East, and North Central
3. 8 States - Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Kogi, Niger, and Rivers States
4. 31 Local Government Areas.
5. 152 Communities
6. 572 Kilometres
7. N36 Billion naira
8. Zero Environmental Impact Assessment.
9. The dredging of the river according to government would help to facilitate the movement of goods through the waterways, Nigerians have only been told of the positive benefits of the dredging, even though the EIA report clearly outlines the negative impact the dredging will have on the communities on the bank of the River Niger.
10. The people in these communities have not been informed that the EIA report states that the dredging will cause the following, soil erosion particularly bank erosion which has been described by the report as been the most probable and has the potentials of being the most devastating to the communities on the bank of the river.
11. Other adverse impact according to the report include, air pollution caused by the high rate of industrialisation and increased water traffic and the negative impact on the poor socio economic status of the communities through the loss of wetland for fishing and wildlife, migration of fish species and reduction of the soil left by the river.
13. The government has been advised to put in place strategies for mitigation in other to address these adverse negative impacts on the 152 communities that would be affected by the dredging. The question is has this been done?
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