The Nigerian Senate has begun the legislative process that will lead to the passing of a new law to protect Nigerians against the hazards of radiation in the country.
The proposed bill comes 25 years after the Establishment of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority( NNRA).
The bill is entitled: A Bill for an Act to repeal the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act No. 19 of 1995, enact the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards Act and Re-establish the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and for related matters.
The Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream has taken receipt of the bill sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ajayi Borofice with the Chairman, Bassey Albert promising to give it all the necessary attention it deserves.
Speaking at the stakeholders meeting for speedy passage of the bill organised by Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, the Director General of NNRA, Yau Usman Idris emphasized the need for the amendment of the law in order to avert the danger of radio active materials to citizens.
He also underscored the potential danger it could serve in the hands of terrorist groups and other non-state actor .
Yau said,” Nigeria is a major porter of radioactive materials in Africa . Globally, the beneficial application of nuclear technology is well appreciated, however not without attendant danger to life , property and the environment as well as potential for malicious use by terrorists groups and other non -state actors if not properly regulated . This has grave implications for national security. “
The Director General said the present Act of Nuclear Technology is not consistent with International standards, recommendations and best practices.
The Director General requested Senate to ensure that the law compels all facilities, companies, entities and individuals that use radio active materials to pay a percentage of some of their earnings as charges to the agency.
Speaking at the meeting, representative of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN) agreed with provisions in the amendment, but emphasized on the condition that staff are included in the bill .
PENGASSAN said, ” in terms of funding of NNRA, we’re strongly behind the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, we support the provision for funding.”
Apart from PENGASSAN, other major stakeholders like Ministry of Mines and Steel, Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Petroleum Resources supported the amendment of Nuclear Application law in Nigeria.
At the end of the meeting, the Chairman of Senate Committee, Bassey said all stakeholders will be carried along in the amendment of Nuclear law in Nigeria.