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To further underscore the role of data of various kind as the ‘new oil’ in our emerging digital economy, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa has said; “It has become imperative for stakeholders and regulatory agencies to engage in effective management of environmental data and information management due to the rapid increase of environmental impact assessment that has made data become more valuable during decision making”.

Mallam Inuwa, who was represented at the 15th National Stakeholder Forum of the National Environment Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency NESREA, by Barrister Emmanuel Edet, NITDA’s Head of Legal Unit, made this assertion while delivering the goodwill message on his behalf on the theme “Environmental Data and Information Management: A key to Environmental Governance in Nigeria.

Mallam Inuwa noted that by looking at levels of pollutants, emissions, and other wastes that are being discharged, government and relevant stakeholders in the environmental protection sector can evaluate how to remain environmentally compliant, become more efficient, and save money, resources and manpower by making informed decisions through the use data.

While commending the convening of stakeholders’ forum at this period as very apt and timely, the NITDA boss expressed that adequate consideration to the importance of environmental data and effective information management in providing solutions to environmental challenges would encourage and promote data accuracy.

“The availability, ease, and speed of collecting environmental data have significantly accelerated in this information age due to the widespread use of digital technologies that has enhanced easy access to direct observation of various environmental data, which is now increasing within consumers’ reach,” Inuwa said.

He disclosed that robust environmental governance requires the participation of stakeholders, provision of fair legal frameworks, and transparency in decision-making processes, as well as the enforcement of policies following due rules and regulations. He also appreciated the management of NESREA for its consistency in involving stakeholders in making decisions that concerns the nation.

In his welcome remarks, the NESREA’s Director General, Prof. Aliyu Jauro, noted that the Agency had initiated the gradual implementation of its data and information management through the recent automation of its processes namely; the Compliance Monitoring Information Systems, (NECMIS), which is dedicated to ensuring that compliance records generated over the years are organised to produce useful environmental governance and the NESREA Permit, Audit and Management, (NESPAM), which is intended to aid the generation, collation, analysis, storage and retrieval of data for compliance monitoring and enforcement programs.

He urged all the participants to synergize their efforts towards achieving the expected outcomes of this year’s forum. The event witnessed various environmental enthusiasts and stakeholders from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) of Government, consultants, corporate organisations, the academia and civil society groups.  

The Hon. Minister of State Environment, Hon. Sharon O. Ikeazor Esq presented the keynote address while the opening remark was delivered by the former Minister of State for Environment and Emir of Nasarawa, HRH Alh Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who was the special guest of honour at the event.