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ENVIROMENTAL LAW RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Environmental Law

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND PRACTICE IN NIGERIA

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INTRODUCTION

Fifteen years have passed since the Federal Environmental Protection Act was enacted in Nigeria.     Since the enactmentof this Act, environmental law hasdeveloped andmatured into a complex and technical maze characterized by myriads of administrative regulations, new and frequently changing statutory programme andan extensive body of international environmentagreements and case law.   This rapid rate of regulation and the wide spectrum of activities and substances falling underenvironmental control   necessitatea succinct, accurate, and up-to-date   text   on current   municipal   and   international   environmental law forlegal practitioners,students   and other. professionals.   This book   is the first major   comprehensivecontemporary effort to bring the right blend of ecology and law in the growing legal subject of environmental law, the principles and rules relating to the protection of environment and conservation of natural resources in Nigeria.  In addition to in-depth descriptions of all the problems that beset our planet's air, soil, water, wildlife,plant and atmosphere, this book thoroughly examines the complex issue

s that lie at the   heart   of   environmental law practices:   liability, enforcement, procedural obligations and international environmental obligations.


Environmental Law and Practice in Nigeria addresses comprehensively, the principles and policies of environmental law from the municipal and international perspectives. The primary objective of writing this book is to contribute to the existing but dynamic legal materials on the subject and to bring to light growing legal materials including   new   international    agreements    that   have addressed the   issues   of environment since the publication of earlier texts. Some of these international developments    include   the   1997   Kyoto    Protocol   on   Climate  Change, 1998Convention on the Prior Informed   Consent   Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention on PIC),2000   Cartagena   Protocol   on   Biosafety   and   Biotechnology, 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, United Nations Forum on Forest and2002 Rio + 10 Conference on Sustainable Development at Johannesburg, South Africa, and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). In addition, the interpretation of Article 24 by the African Human and Peoples' Rights Commission in The Social and Economic Rights Action Center and the Center for Economic and Social Rights v. Nigeria, has clarified the scope of and category of people that could enforce, the environmental rights envisioned in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Right. At the municipal level, there have also been significant litigations arising from oil pollution and a considerable number of important judicial decisions touching on environmental right, locusstandi, jurisdiction and compensation.  The decision in Sani Abacha v. Gani Fawehinmi (2000) 4 S.C. (Pt.11) 22 has opened a new vista in environmental litigation with the liberal interpretation of the Supreme Court of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Right and its status vis-a-vis- the constitutional provisions on human rights.   For those involved in the compensation for environmental pollution, the decision of Shell Petroleum Development Co. Ltd. V. Councillor Farrar (1995) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 382) 148 has tremendous impact. Similarly, with the increased empowerment of the Federal High Court initially by the Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree 107 of 1993 and its incorporation into the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to adjudicate on oil pollution   cases appears to be broadened as interpreted by the Court of Appeal in Shell Petroleum Development Co. Ltd v. Maxon (2001) 9 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 719) 541 and Shell Petroleum Development Co. v. H.B. Fishermen [2002] 4 N.W.L.R.  505 respectively and affirmed by the Supreme Court in Shell Petroleum Development Co. v. Isaiah [2002] 11 N.W.L.R.  (Pt.  723)  168.  Again, those involved in constitutional aspect of environmental management will find the Supreme Court decisions in Attorney General of Lagos State v. Attorney Generation of the Federation [2003] N.W.L.R.  (Pt.  833) 1 and Attorney General of the Federation v. Attorney Generation Abia State & Ors(No. 2.)[2002] 6 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 764) 542 quite instructive. Other motivations could be gleaned from the increasing interest that the subject has generated among students and many practitioners yearning for a text that will provide the right blend between the scientific and legal issues on this emerging subject.  From a moderate class of 30 in 1998, when Environmental Law was introduced as a subject at the undergraduate level at University of Lagos, the class has grown tremendously in population and interest. Environmental Law and Practice in Nigeria is also structured to provide comprehensive resource   materials for both   undergraduate and postgraduate students of environmental law.   It will serve as a reference material for foreign scholars and consultants looking for environmental information   about Nigeria as well as legal practitioners and judges involved in environmental litigations. The book does not pretend to cover the entire aspects of international law, as there are specialized texts on this subject.  However, it contains in-depth analysis and explanations of the various rules and policies on all the aspects of the environment media under regulation.   More   emphasis   is    placed   on   domestic   law and, where necessary, international laws relevant to the subject under consideration. Structure of the Book Environmental law is technically and legally complex, and this complexity adds confusion not   just   for   students    but   also   for   environmental    lawyers.    The environmental lawyer of today needs to know some things about ecology and environmental engineering as well as the law.  To provide some of the technical background needed, this book is written in a simple but systematic and integrated manner   to   provide   readers   with   the   scientific, philosophical   and   historical backgrounds to the rules and principles of laws and administrative measures that regulate every media of environment pollution considered in this text.  Hence, each chapter is preceded by a brief general and scientific introductory discussion on the subject under consideration, which is followed by exposition of the legal regime regulating it. This approach is intended to provide readers with the benefits of understanding the underlying scientific explanations for legal   actions. It also provides detailed historical accounts and circumstances leading to the negotiation and adoption of many international agreements. The book is divided into three main parts.  Part One contains six chapters that bring into focus the historical and philosophical backgrounds of the modems sustainable development   principles.  Chapter One specifically addresses   the concepts, philosophy, and socio-economic backgrounds to environmental development both from the Western and African perspectives.   Chapter Two discusses the common law and the environment and its relevance to contemporary sustainable development strategies.  Chapter Three is concerned with the development and growth of public environmental law in Nigeria including the institutional mechanisms for securing compliance. Chapter Four discusses the development and influence of international environmental principles and its practical application at both   international   and   municipal   levels.   It also discusses the international environmental principles upon which the environmental lawis built and its practical application at both international and municipal levels.  Chapter Five is devoted specifically to highlight the role of the United Nations in the emergence and development of international environment with particular emphasis on UNE P and other related agencies.  Chapter Six finally focuses on the African and other regional initiatives on environmental protection. Part Two relates to sectoral treatment of the environment.  This part consists of seven main chapters. It focuses mainly on sectoral aspects of environment, such as biodiversity and conservation, land resources and habitat protection, public health, hazardous    waste   and   chemical   management, water   and    marine   pollution, atmospheric pollution and physical planning. Part Three contains two chapters, which discuss the techniques for securing compliance with environmental regulation and remedies for environmental liability, environmental   remedies   including   compensation   at   municipal   level.   Chapter Fourteen is devoted to the principles and application of Environmental Impact Assessment as a precautionary tool to achieving sustainable development.  Other notable techniques such as Environmental Audit, imposition of standards, Permits and Negotiations are also discussed. Chapter Fifteen, the concluding chapter, discusses   the general environmental liability under common law and statutes and highlights legal remedies available to the litigants.  It also focuses on constitutional and technical aspects of environmental litigation which need to be in the forefront of the practitioner’s mind when planning to initiate action for environmental claims or when defending environmental claims. The discussion on international framework for securing compliance and remedial measures are deliberately omitted.  The law is stated at 31st December 2003.  Wherever possible subsequent changes to the law and practice have been incorporated in the text.

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