Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A BILL

FOR

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH DESERTIFICATION, EROSION, FLOOD AND ECOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENCY AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS, 2017 (HB. 101)

Sponsored by Hon. Hassan A. Ornale

Provisions of the Bill

Committee’s Recommendation
PART 1 - ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS CONTROL AGENCY

Establishment of the agency.
1.  (l) There is established a body to be known as Environmental Disasters Control Agency.

(2) The Head Office of the Agency shall be in Abuja with an office in each State of the Federation.


Establishment of a Governing Council.
2.  (1) There shall be a Governing Council for the Agency (in this Bill referred to as "the Establishment Council") which shall control the affairs of the Agency of a Governing Council.

(2) The Council shall consist of:

(a) Chairman;

(b) 2 representatives from each of the six zones and the Federal Capital Territory and a representative from the following Ministries-

(i) Federal Ministry of Environment;

(ii) Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources;

(iii) Federal Ministry of Works;

(iv) Federal Ministry of Finance;

(c) National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA);

(d) Director-General of the Agency.

(3) Appointment of the Council members-
(a) the Chairman and the members of the Council shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister of Environment;

(b) shall be persons of proven integrity, honour and ability; and

(c) shall be part-time members except the Director-General who shall be on full-time basis.


Schedule.
3. The supplementary provisions set out in the Schedule to this Bill shall have effect with respect to the proceedings of the Council and other matters contained therein.


Tenure of office.
4. The Chairman and the members of the Council shall each hold office:

(a) for a term of 4 years and may be reappointed for a further term of 4 years and no more; and

(b) on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.


Cessation of membership.
5.  (1) A person shall cease to hold office as a member of the Council if-

(a) he becomes bankrupt, suspends payment or compounds with his creditors;

(b) he is convicted of a felony or any offence involving dishonesty or fraud;

(c) he becomes of unsound mind or is incapable of carrying out his duties;

(d) he is guilty of a serious misconduct in relation to his duties;

(e) in the case of a person. who possesses any professional qualification and is disqualified or suspended, other than at his own requests, from practising his profession in any part of the world by any order of a competent authority made in respect of that member; or

(f) he resigns his appointment by a letter addressed to the President.

(2) Where a member of the Council ceases to hold office for any reason whatsoever, before the expiration of the term for which he is appointed, another person representing the same interest as that member shall be appointed to the Council for the unexpired term.
(3) A member of the Council may be removed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister if he is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Agency or the public that the member continues in office.


Allowance of members.
6. Members of the Council shall be paid such allowances and expenses as the Government may direct from time to time.


Power of the Council.
7. The Council shall have power to-

(a) manage and superintend over the affairs of the Agency;

(b) make rules and regulations for the effective running of the Agency;

(c) employ and pay the staff of the Agency such remuneration and allowances payable  to person in similar organisations in the country;

(d) enter into such contracts as may be necessary or expedient for the discharge of its  functions and to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of the Agency; and

(e) receive, disburse and account for Funds of the Agency.


PART II - FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE AGENCY

Functions of the agency.
8. (1) The functions of the Agency are to:

(a) carry out an extensive survey of the extent of environmental disasters in the  country such as desertification, deforestation, drought, floods, erosions, ocean surge, etc;

(b) formulate policies and guidelines for the control and management of environmental disasters in the country;

(c) conceive, plan, and implement in accordance with set rules, projects and programmes for environmental disasters control and management;

(d) provide emergency relief and settlement of people in areas afflicted by environmental disasters by the Federal Government;

(e) identify factors inhibiting the control and management of environmental disaster in the country;

(f) ensure sound and efficient management of the resources available to the Agency from the Federation Account;

(g) to provide solutions to the problems of desertification, floods, deforestation erosion, droughts and all the ecological challenges;

(h) provide accurate data on environmental menace in the country; and

(i) carry out such functions as the President may from time to time direct.

(2) Pursuant to section 7(1) (a), the functions of the River Basins Development Authorities Act, relating to control of floods and erosion are hereby transferred to this Agency.

           
Powers of the agency.
9. (1) The Agency has power to do anything which will facilitate the carrying out of it functions and in particular may:
(a) sue or be sued in its corporate name;

(b) acquire, hold, and manage movable and immovable property;

(c) monitor and control desertification, drought, erosion, floods, deforestation, ocean surge, coastal erosion, and related environmental disasters in the affected areas;

(d) enter into contracts for the control and management of all desertification, drought, erosion, floods and other environmental problems;

(e) purchase, or acquire any asset, businesses or property considered necessary for the proper conduct of its functions;

(f) sell, let, lease or dispose of any of its property;

(g) undertake or sponsor research where necessary, for the performance of its functions; and

(h) train managerial, technical or other category of staff for the purpose of running the affairs of the Agency.

(2) The powers conferred on the Agency may be exercise by it or through any of its employees or agents authorised in that behalf by the Agency.

(3) The Agency shall not be subject to the direction, control or supervision by any other authority or person in the performance of its functions under this Bill except the President on the advice of the Minister.


PART III - APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR-GENERAL

Appointment and duties of the Director-General.
10. (1) There shall be a Director-General who shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister of Environment.

(2) The Director-General shall:

(a) be the Chief Executive and accounting officer of the Agency; and

(b) be responsible to the Council for execution of the policies and the administration of the daily affairs of the Agency.

           

Tenure of office and remuneration of the Director-General.
11. (1) The Director-General shall be appointed for a term of 5 years in the first instance and may be reappointed for a further term of 5 years and no more, subject to satisfactory performance.

(2) The Director-General shall be paid such remuneration as may be prescribed in his letter of appointment.


Resignation of Director-General.
12. The Director-General may resign his appointment by a letter delivered to the President through the Minister.


Staff of the agency.
13. The Council shall appoint for the Agency such number of employees as may in the opinion of the Council be expedient and necessary for the proper and efficient performance of the functions of the Agency and pay them remunerations and allowances as obtained in the public service.


Appointment and duties of Secretary.
14. The Council shall appoint for the Agency a Secretary who shall-

(a) be a qualified graduate with not less than 10 years post NYSC experience;

(b) keep the records and conduct the correspondence of the Agency; and

(c) perform such other functions as the Councilor the Director-General may direct.



Appointment and secondment from public service.
15. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 12 and 13, the Council shall have power to appoint for the Agency either directly or on secondment from any public service in the Federation, such number of employees as may, in the opinion of the Council be required to assist the Agency in the discharge of any of its functions under this Bill.

(2) The person seconded under this section may elect to be transferred to the service of the Agency, and any previous service he might have rendered in the public service shall count as service to the Agency for the purpose of any pension subsequently payable by the Agency.


Structure of the agency.
16. There shall be established for the Agency such departments as may be deemed expedient for efficient operation.


PART IV- FINANCIAL PROVISIONS AND AUDIT

Provision of superannuation.
17. The Agency shall pay gratuities or provide and maintain further such superannuating schemes (whether contributory or not for the employees).


Funds of the agency.
18. (1) The Agency shall establish and maintain a Fund into which all moneys accruable to the Agency shall be paid and from which all the activities of the Agency shall be Funded.

(2) There shall be paid and credited to the Fund such money as may be appropriated by the National Assembly:

(a) by the Federal Government, the equivalent of 3 percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund;

(b) all the moneys accruing to the Ecological Fund Office upon the enactment of the Bill;            

(c) donations, gifts and grants from individuals or corporate organisations at home and abroad.

(3) The Funds of the Agency shall be disbursed according to the approved formula.

(4) The Council shall cause the accounts of the Agency to be audited quarterly and shall be externally audited once every year.


           

Power to accept gifts.
19.  (1) The Agency may accept gifts of land, money or other property on such terms and conditions, if any, as may be specified by the person or organisation making the gift.

(2) The Agency shall not accept any gift if the conditions attached are inconsistent with the functions of the Agency under the Bill.


Power to borrow.
20. The Agency may, from time to time, borrow such sums of money as it may require to execute or complete some special projects of the Agency.


Annual estimates and expenditure.
21. (1) The Council shall, not later than 30th of September each year, submit to the National Assembly through the Minister an estimate of the expenditure of the Agency during the next succeeding fiscal year.

(2) The Council shall approve all expenditure of the Agency.


Accounts and records.
22. The Agency shall:

(a) cause to be kept proper account and records of the transactions and affairs of the Agency and ensure that all payments out of its moneys are correctly made and properly authorised;

(b) ensure that adequate control is maintained over assets of, or in the custody of the Agency and over incurring of liabilities; and

(c) prepare in respect of each financial year a statement of accounts in such form as the Auditor-General may direct.


Audit.
23. The accounts of the Agency shall be audited not later than six months after the end of the year to which they relate by Auditors appointed by the Agency from the list of the Auditors supplied and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Auditor-General of the Federation.


Annual Report.
24. The Agency shall prepare and submit to the Council not later than so" June each year a report on the activities of the Agency, the audited accounts of the Agency and the Auditors report thereon for each year preceding the report.



Power to acquire land.
25. The Agency may subject to the Land Use Act, acquire any land for the purpose of discharging its functions. 


PART V- MISCELLANOUS PROVISIONS

Limitation of suits against the agency.
26. The Provisions of the Public Protection Act shall apply in relation to any suit instituted against any officer or employee of the Agency.

                       
Service of documents.
27. A notice, summons or any other documents required or authorised to be served upon Agency under the provisions of this Bill or any other law or enactment may be served by delivering it to the Director-General at the principal office of the Agency.


Indemnity of officers.
28. A member of the Council, the Director-General, an officer or employee of the Agency shall be indemnified out of the assets of the Agency against any proceeding, whether civil or criminal, in which judgement is given in his favour, or in which he is acquitted if any such proceeding is brought against him in his capacity as member of the Council, Director-General, officer or employee of the Agency.


Engagement of experts other than staff.
29. The Director-General may with the approval of the Council engage persons with knowledge or experience in the control of desertification, drought, floods, erosion, ocean surge, deforestation, coastal erosion or other ecological related issues or in matters relevant to the functions of the Agency to assist otherwise than on the basis of full time employment.


Power to give directive to the agency.
30. The President or Minister may give to the Agency directives of a general or special nature with respect to any of its functions.


Savings and transitional provision.
31. (1) The statutory functions, rights, interests, obligations and liabilities of the Ecological Funds Office before the commencement of this Bill under any contract or instrument, shall by virtue of this Bill be deemed to have been assigned to and vested in the Agency.

(2) All assets, funds, resources or any other movable or immovable property which immediately before the commencement of the Bill, were vested in the Ecological Fund Office shall be vested in the Agency.



Regulation.
32. The Council may, with the approval of the Minister, make regulations for the purpose of carrying out or giving full effect to the provisions of this Bill.


Interpretation.
33. In this Bill-

"Agency" means Environmental Disasters Control Agency established under section 1 (1) of this Bill;

"Council" means a Governing Council of the Agency established under section 2(1) of this Bill;

"Environmental disasters" include erosion, desertification, floods, droughts, ocean surge, deforestation, hurricane, storms and whirlwind; 

"function" includes power and duty;

“member" means a member of the Council and includes the Chairman;

"the Minister" means the Minister in charge of Environment; and

"the President" means the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Citation.
34. This Bill may be cited as the Desertification, Erosion, Flood and Ecological Control Agency Bill, 2015.


SCHEDULE

SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE COUNCIL, ETC.

Proceeding of the Council
1. (1) Subject to the Interpretation Act, the Council may make standing order regulation its proceedings or any of its committees.

(2) The quorum of the Council shall be the Chairman, or the person presiding at the meeting and 1/3 of membership present.

2. (1) The Council shall meet whenever it is summoned by the chairman and if the chairman is required to do so by notice given to him by not less than 1/3 of the membership, he will summon a meeting of the Council to be held within two weeks from the date on which the notice is given.

(2) Where the Council desires to obtain the advice of any person on a particular matter, the Council may co-opt him to the Council for such period as it deems fit. But a person who is in attendance by virtue of this subparagraph shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Council and shall not count towards a quorum.

Committee

1. (1) The Council may appoint one or more committees to carry out on behalf of the Council such functions as the Council may determine.

(2) A committee appointed under this paragraph shall consider such number of persons as may be determined by the Council and a person shall hold office on the committee in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

(3) A decision of a committee of the Council shall be of no effect until it is confirmed by the Council.

2. (1) The fixing of the seal of the Agency shall be authenticated by the signatures of the Chairman or any other member of the Council generally or specifically authorised by the Council to act for that purpose.

(2) Any contract or instrument which, if made or executed by a person not being a body corporate, would not be required to be under seal may be executed on behalf of the Agency by the Director-General or any person generally or specifically authorised by Council to act for that purpose.

(3) A document purporting to be a document duly executed under the seal of the Agency shall be received in evidence and shall, unless and until the contrary is proved, be presumed to be so executed.

(4) The validity of any proceedings of the Council shall not be adversely affected by -

(a) a vacancy in the Councilor committee;

(b) a defect in the appointment of a member of the Councilor committee; or

(c) reason that a person not entitled to do so took part in the proceedings of the Council or committee.


EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

This Bill, among other things seeks to establish an Environmental Disasters Control Agency as a statutory body and vests it with the responsibility to manage and control desertification, drought, erosion, floods, deforestation, ocean surge, hurricane, storm, whirlwind in any state of the Federation.