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Nigeria to ratify convention against mercury products next year

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Liquid mercury

Liquid mercury

Nigeria is to ratify in the first quarter of 2017 the Minamata Convention on Mercury drafted to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of the substance.

The Deputy Director, Chemical Management and Pollution Control in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Idris Goji, made the disclosure yesterday in Lagos at a one-day sectoral stakeholders’ workshop on alternative to free mercury products in Nigeria.

He said the country had in October 10, 2013 signed the convention, but would ratify it before the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, leaves next March for the United Nations (UN) as Deputy Secretary General.

According to Goji, Nigeria was to have sealed the protocol in August 2015 but the event was put off by the change in government and the need for the new administration to properly study the convention.

One hundred and twenty-eight countries and the European Union (EU) have so far signed the agreement, while 35 others, including Benin Republic, have ratified it. Fifteen other countries are to endorse before it becomes operational.

He said Nigeria had developed a framework to expedite the process and that the process would be completed before March.

On the workshop organised by Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development Nigeria (SRADev) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other stakeholders, Goji said the event was aimed at contributing to the preparation and implementation of the protocol with emphasis on developing strategies to implement the phase-out provisions of the pact.

The workshop, he added, allowed relevant stakeholders to air their views before the 2020 date for the banning of mercury-added products.

The 2013 treaty was named after a Japanese city which experienced a decade-long outbreak of severe mercury poisoning after industrial wastewater from a chemical factory was discharged into the Minamata bay



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