There is a new Environmental law in Lagos State, which is stipulating a prison term or fine for residents who drill boreholes without government authorization, Premium Times reports.
It is also understood that the state legislation specifically criminalised sale or distribution of water by container, tanker, or any other method without a valid license issued by the Department of Water Resources.
Speaking on the new development, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, during a press conference in Lagos on Monday said:
“The salt rubbed on the injury is the fact that as we speak, the public has not set eyes on the new bill to ascertain if our fears and objections raised at the Public Hearing were incorporated into what was eventually passed.”
The bill, passed by the state House of Assembly, is yet to be signed into law by Governor Akinwumi Ambode.
On February 20, the Lagos House of Assembly passed “A Bill for a Law to Consolidate all Laws Relating to the Environment for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes” into law.
The Bill was passed less than two weeks after activists and environmentalists challenged its key sections at a public hearing.
A section (7.2.a) in the draft Bill secured the “payment of contracted services and concessions for long term infrastructure investments with an irrevocable Service Payment Order as the first line charge on the State’s
In section 7.2.b., it states that, “In the event that the state’s IGR is insufficient or unavailable to discharge its obligations, the state should apply monies due to it from the federal monthly allocation or any other source to secure its payment obligation to contractors and concessionaires under the law.”
Mr. Oluwafemi described both sections as anti-people and would tie the hands of Lagos citizens to ambiguous agreements.
“These clauses will make government, through taxpayers money, to pay corporate entities without fail even when there are other pressing issues requiring funding.
“Literally, it is saying if passed, the Lagos State government must pay these corporate entities before spending on salaries, healthcare, roads and so on.
“We also feel Lagosians should have a say on how the state’s federal allocation will be used. These provisions elevate government spending towards private concessions over all other government spending.”