Public Outrage As Minister Dave Umahi Downplays Importance Of EIA in Lagos-Calabar Highway Project - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Thursday 2 May 2024

Public Outrage As Minister Dave Umahi Downplays Importance Of EIA in Lagos-Calabar Highway Project

Public Outrage As Minister Dave Umahi Downplays Importance Of EIA in Lagos-Calabar Highway Project

Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi, has been berated for allegedly downplaying the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) aspect of the multi-billion Naira Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project.

TheNigeriaLawyer recalls that EIA is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action.

At a media briefing by the Minister of Works, a television reporter, Laila Johnson-Salami of Arise News Channel had posed a question to Umahi about the EIA on the much-talked-about Lagos-Calabar Highway Project but a drama ensued before she was able to ask the question as the Minister jocularly picked on her because of her accent.

According to a viral video posted on X by AriseNews on Wednesday, the following drama ensued immediately Laila was handed the microphone to ask her question:

Umahi: “Sister, I was raised in the village, me I no dey hear phoneh (phonetics), so try to speak…”

Laila: “Well, sorry, I can’t help the way I speak. You mentioned that the ESIS was being carried out at the moment. The EIA Act of 1992….”

Umahi interjected again: “I need an interpreter oh…”

Laila: “Well, you have enough people next to you. The EIA Act of 1992 states that an EIA must be approved by the Federal Ministry of Environment before the commencement of any project unless an exemption has been given…”

Umahi countered the journalist again, saying she was wrong about the process as, according to him, there is provision for preliminary and final approvals.

The journalist, however, insisted on knowing whether preliminary approval had been given for the project to commence or whether there was an exception, to which Umahi, who appeared evasive, said everything was in order as they were following the due process on the highway project.

However, reacting to the encounter between the duo in the viral video, many social media users faulted the Minister of Works for choosing to trivialise a very important matter with what they called “dry jokes”, saying it amounted to lack of accountability on the part of Nigeria’s political office-holders.

An X user and EndSARS activist, Rinu Oduala, with the handle @SavvyRinu reacted by saying, “The quality of people currently running the affairs of over 200 million people in Nigeria is very abysmal.”

Another user S.A.LA.K… with the handle @UnkleAyo said: “He’s DELIBERATELY trying to make light of her question, elicit one or two laughs from the audience before retorting with a wishy washy response.”

Also, a user called Global, with the handle @OkeyJames opined that, “Speak proper English with good pronunciation and some Nigerians will think you are doing oversabi. That’s how the minister is behaving in this video.”

For Ella Madu with the handle @EllaMadu3, the Minister wouldn’t treat a foreign journalist same way Laila was treated. He wrote: “Sister, do not bend for anyone.

“How condescending can a public and government official be.

“I wonder if he can say the same to international journalists.

“No one cares where you were raised. Improve yourself so you can intellectually answer questions.”

READ ALSO: Senate: No Change In 16-Year Age Requirement For Tertiary Institution Admissions

Source: TheNigeriaLawyer

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