An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the potential impacts whether positive or negative, of a proposed project on the natural environment:
The E.I.A Act, as it is informally called, deals with the considerations of environmental impact in respect of public and private projects.
Sections relevant to environmental emergency prevention under the EIA include:-
- Section 2 (1) requires an assessment of public or private projects likely to have a significant (negative) impact on the environment.
- Section 2 (4) requires an application in writing to the Agency before embarking on projects for their environmental assessment to determine approval.
- Section 13 establishes cases where an EIA is required and
- Section 60 creates a legal liability for contravention of any provision.
THE NIGERIAN URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING ACT
CAP N138, LFN 2004
The Urban and Regional Planning Act is aimed at overseeing a realistic, purposeful planning of the country to avoid overcrowding and poor environmental conditions. In this regard, the following sections become instructive:-
- Section 30 (3) requires a building plan to be drawn by a registered architect or town planner.
- Section 39 (7) establishes that an application for land development would be rejected if such development would harm the environment or constitute a nuisance to the community.
- Section 59 makes it an offence to disobey a stop-work order. The punishment under this section, is a fine not exceeding N10, 000 (Ten thousand naira) and in the case of a company, a fine not exceeding N50, 000.
- Section 72 provides for the preservation and planting of trees for environmental conservation.
LAND USE ACT
CAP 202, LFN 2004
The Land Use Act places the ownership, management and control of land in each state of the federation in the Governor. Land is therefore allocated with his authority for commercial, agricultural and other purposes.
HARMFUL WASTE (SPECIAL CRIMINAL PROVISIONS) ACT
CAP H1, LFN 2004
The Harmful Waste Act prohibits, without lawful authority, the carrying, dumping or depositing of harmful waste in the air, land or waters of Nigeria. The following sections are notable:
- Section 6 provides for a punishment of life imprisonment for offenders as well as the forfeiture of land or anything used to commit the offence.
- Section 7 makes provision for the punishment accordingly, of any conniving, consenting or negligent officer where the offence is committed by a company.
- Section 12 defines the civil liability of any offender. He would be liable to persons who have suffered injury as a result of his offending act.
HYDROCARBON OIL REFINERIES ACT, CAP H5, LFN 2004.
The Hydrocarbon Oil Refineries Act is concerned with the licensing and control of refining activities. Relevant sections include the following:-
- Section 1 prohibits any unlicensed refining of hydrocarbon oils in places other than a refinery.
- Section 9 requires refineries to maintain pollution prevention facilities.
OIL IN NAVIGABLE WATERS ACT, CAP 06, LFN 2004.
The Oil in Navigable Waters Act is concerned with the discharge of oil from ships. The following sections are significant:-
- Section 1 (1) prohibits the discharge of oil from a Nigerian ship into territorial waters or shorelines.
- Section 3 makes it an offence for a ship master, occupier of land, or operator of apparatus for transferring oil to discharge oil into Nigerian Waters. It also requires the installation of anti-pollution equipment in ships.
- Section 6 makes punishable such discharge with a fine of N2, 000 (Two thousand naira).
- Section 7 requires the records of occasions of oil discharge.
ASSOCIATED GAS RE-INJECTION ACT, CAP 20, LFN 2004.
The Associated Gas Re-Injection Act deals with the gas flaring activities of oil and gas companies in Nigeria. The following sections are relevant to pollution prevention:-
- Section 3 (1) prohibits, without lawful permission, any oil and gas company from flaring gas in Nigeria.
- Section 4 stipulates the penalty for breach of permit conditions.
THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT , CAP E9, LFN 2004.
This Act focuses on the protection and management of Nigeria’s wildlife and some of their species in danger of extinction as a result of overexploitation. These sections are noteworthy:
- Section 1 prohibits, except under a valid license, the hunting, capture or trade in animal species, either presently or likely to be in danger of extinction.
- Section 5 defines the liability of any offender under this Act.
- Section 7 provides for regulations to be made necessary for environmental prevention and control as regards the purposes of this Act.
SEA FISHERIES ACT, CAP S4, LFN 2004.
The Sea Fisheries Act makes it illegal to take or harm fishes within Nigerian waters by use of explosives, poisonous or noxious substances.
Relevant sections include the following:-
- Section 1 prohibits any unlicensed operation of motor fishing boats within Nigerian waters.
- Section 10 makes destruction of fishes punishable with a fine of N50,000 or an imprisonment term of 2 years.
- Section 14 (2) provides authority to make for the protection and conservation of sea fishes.
INLAND FISHERIES ACT, CAP I10, LFN 2004.
Focused on the protection of the water habitat and its species, the following sections are instructive:
- Section 1 prohibits unlicensed operations of motor fishing boats within the inland waters of Nigeria.
- Section 6 prohibits the taking or destruction of fish by harmful means. This offence is punishable with a fine of N3, 000 or an imprisonment term of 2 years or both.
EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE ACT, CAP E11, LFN 2004.
The Exclusive Economic Zone Act makes it illegal to explore or exploit natural resources within the Exclusive zone without lawful authority. The Federal Government regulates the activities of the Exclusive Zone.
OIL PIPELINES ACT, CAP 07, LFN 2004.
The Oil Pipelines Act and its Regulations guide oil activities. The following sections are pertinent;
- Section 11 (5) creates a civil liability on the person who owns or is in charge of an oil pipeline. He would be liable to pay compensation to anyone who suffers physical or economic injury as a result of a break or leak in his pipelines.
- Section 17 (4) establishes that grant of licenses are subject to regulations concerning public safety and prevention of land and water pollution.
OIL PIPELINES REGULATIONS (UNDER OIL PIPELINES ACT)
- Section 9 (1) (b) establishes the requirement of environmental emergency plans.
- Section 26 makes punishable any contravention with a fine of N500,000 and/or an imprisonment term of six months.
PETROLEUM ACT, CAP P10, LFN 2004.
The Petroleum Act and its Regulations remain the primary legislation on oil and gas activities in Nigeria. It promotes public safety and environmental protection. The following sections are relevant:
- Section 9 (1) (b) provides authority to make regulations on operations for the prevention of air and water pollution.
PETROLEUM DRILLING AND PRODUCTION REGULATIONS:
- Section 17 (1) (b) places restrictions on licensees from using land within fifty yards of any building, dam, reservoir, public road, etc.
- Section 23 and 27 prohibits, without lawful permission, the cut down of trees in forest reserves.
- Section 25 establishes that reasonable measures be taken to prevent water pollution and to end it, if it occurs.
PETROLEUM REFINING REGULATION
- Section 43 (3) requires the Manager of a refinery to take measures to prevent and control pollution of the environment.
- Section 45 makes any contravention punishable with a fine of N100 or an imprisonment term of six months.
MINERAL OIL SAFETY REGULATIONS AND CRUDE OIL TRANSPORTATION AND SHIPMENT REGULATIONS.
These Regulations prescribe precautions to be taken in the production, loading, transfer and storage of petroleum products to prevent environmental pollution.
PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND DISTRIBUTION ACT, CAP P12, LFN 2004.
Under this Act, the offence of sabotage which could result in environmental pollution is punishable with a death sentence or an imprisonment term not exceeding 21 years.
TERRITORIAL WATERS ACT, CAP T5, LFN 2004.
The Territorial Waters Act makes punishable any act or omission committed within Nigerian waters which would be an offence under any other existing law.
NUCLEAR SAFETY AND RADIATION PROTECTION ACT, CAP N142, LFN 2004.
The Act is concerned with the regulation of the use of radioactive substances and equipment emitting and generating ionizing radiation. In particular:
- Section 4 provides authority to make regulations for the protection of the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.
- Section 15 and 16 makes registration of premises and the restriction of ionizing radiation sources to those premises mandatory.
- Section 37 (1) (b) allows an inspector verify records of activities that pertain to the environment.
- Section 40 clarifies that the same regulations guiding the transportation of dangerous goods by air, land or water should also apply to the transportation of radioactive substances.
NIGERIAN MINING CORPORATION ACT. CAP N120, LFN 2004.
This Act establishes the Nigerian Mining Corporation. It has authority to engage in mining refining activities and to construct and maintain roads, dams, reservoirs, etc. In particular:
- Section 16 creates a civil liability on the corporation for the physical or economic damage suffered by any person as a result of its activities.
QUARANTINE ACT, CAP Q2, LFN 2004.
The Quarantine Act provides authority to make regulations for preventing the introduction, spread and transmission of infectious diseases such as cholera, yellow fever, typhus, etc.
Under this Act, violation of any regulation is punishable with a fine of N200 or an imprisonment term of 2 years or both.
RIVER BASINS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ACT, CAP R9, LFN 2004.
The River Basins Development Authority is concerned with the development of water resources for domestic, industrial and other uses, and the control of floods and erosion.
PEST CONTROL PRODUCTION (SPECIAL POWERS) ACT, CAP P9, LFN 2004.
The Pest Control of Production Act is concerned with export produce conditions and pest control. In particular:
- Section 1 provides an inspector authority to take emergency measures to control pest infestation of produce.
AGRICULTURE (CONTROL OF IMPORTATION) ACT, CAP A93, LFN 2004.
The Agriculture Act and its Plant (Control of Importation) Regulations are concerned with the control of the spread of plant diseases and pests.
Worth noting is:
Section 6 which allows authorized officers to take emergency control measures, and provides for the recovery of costs and expenses incurred by the officers in controlling the situation.
ANIMAL DISEASES (CONTROL) ACT, CAP A17, LFN 2004.
The Animal Disease (Control) Act makes it an offence to import any animal, hatching egg or poultry into Nigerian except under a permit. The following sections are relevant:
Section 5 provides an inspector with the authority to take emergency measures where necessary.
Section 10 stipulates penalties for contravening any regulation.
Section 13 requires owners of trade animals to posses a movement permit and ensure the fitness of their animals.
Section 20 provides authority to make regulations that prevent and control the spread of animal diseases.
BEES (IMPORT CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT) ACT, CAP B6, LFN 2004.
It is an offence, under this Act, to import bees or apicultural materials into Nigeria without a valid permit. A person could also be held liable for exceeding the terms of his permit.
CIVIL AVIATION ACT.
CAP C13, LFN 2004.
The Civil Aviation Act promotes public safety by providing regulations to secure the safety of persons and property in the aircraft and others who may be endangered by it.
FACTORIES ACT, CAP F1, LFN 2004.
The Factories Act promotes the safety of workers and professionals exposed to occupational hazards. Under this Act, it is an offence to use unregistered premises for factory purposes. In particular:
Section 13 allows an inspector take emergency measures or request that emergency measures be taken by a person qualified to do so in cases of pollution or any nuisance.
WATER RESOURCES ACT, CAP W2, LFN 2004.
The Water Resources Act is targeted at developing and improving the quantity and quality of water resources. The following sections are pertinent:
Section 5 and 6 provides authority to make pollution prevention plans and regulations for the protection of fisheries, flora and fauna.
Section 18 makes offenders liable, under this Act, to be punished with a fine not exceeding N2000 or an imprisonment term of six months. He would also pay an additional fine of N100 for everyday the offence continues.
HIDES AND SKINS ACT, CAP H3, LFN 2004.
The Hides and Skins Act and its Regulations are concerned with the preparation, quality and trade of hides and skins. It prohibits the use of unlicensed premises or enclosure as a place for the preparation or buying of hides and skins for export.
THE FEDERAL NATIONAL PARKS ACT, CAP N65, LFN 2004.
The National Parks Act is concerned with the establishment of protected areas used for resource conservation, water catchments protection, wildlife conservation and maintenance of the national eco-system balance.
NIGER-DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (NDDC) ACT, CAP N68, LFN 2004.
The Niger-Delta Development Commission Act is concerned with using allocated funds to tackle ecological problems arising from the exploration of oil minerals in the Delta.
Section 7 (1) (b) empowers the Commission to plan and to implement projects for the sustainable development of the Delta in the field of transportation, health, agriculture, fisheries, urban and housing development, etc.
The Commission, under this Act, has a duty to liaise with oil and gas companies and advice stakeholders on the control of oil spillages, gas flaring and other related forms of environmental pollution.
Environmental Sanitation Law:
This is a law of Lagos State focused on environmental sanitation and protection. It punishes in varying degrees acts like street obstruction, failure to clean side walks, cover refuse bins or dispose wastes properly.
Environmental Pollution Control Law
Section 12 of this law under the Laws of Lagos State makes it an offence to cause or permit a discharge of raw untreated human waste into any public drain, water course or onto any land or water. This offence is punishable with a fine not exceeding N100, 000 (One hundred thousand naira) and in the case of a company, a fine not exceeding N500, 000.
The Criminal Code contains provisions for the prevention of public health hazards and for environmental protection. Hence:
Sections 245-248 deal with offences ranging from water fouling, to the use of noxious substances.