Various types of environmental contamination have wreaked havoc on the health and fortune of certain Nigerians. To this purpose, the paper investigates the variety of Nigerian laws that offer diverse remedies for pollution victims. The research also examined the appropriateness or otherwise of numerous case laws. The paper analyzes further the process for the enforcement of pollution victims’ claims in Nigeria. The overall context of the study investigates the research topic, which determines whether or not these regulations are adequate. The aims include the identification of these therapies. It also includes the rationale, importance, and theological nature of the study’s scope and methods. The research analyses criminal remedies in light of the fact that the majority of legislation include punitive elements in the form of fines and periods of improvement. The research also focuses on legal remedies such as compensation, damages, restoration/rehabilitation, and injunctions. Similarly, the mechanism for the enforcement of the claims by the victims of pollution, such as litigation, is beset by a number of issues, such that the victims often seek remedies under tort law and are unable to establish their case in court. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as negotiation, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration are also examined as enforcement tools. The study’s conclusions include, among others, the lack of a clear constitutional clause on pollution. Dispersed pollution laws that are primarily punitive; the fines are minuscule; and the issue of jurisdiction conferred in the High Court by various Acts, which conflicts with the constitutional provisions that vest jurisdiction solely in the Federal High Court.
1.1 Historical Background
Before the arrival of British rule, present-day Nigerian villages used
standard procedures for the resolution of environmental issues. Thus, the administration of
The environment in the majority of Nigerian communities is founded on the notion of customary law.
Statutes have changed or eliminated this provision. There may be as many customary laws as
as many as there are ethnic groupings. About 300 ethnic groups exist in Nigeria. 1
Consequently, many customary laws exist in the same state or within the same tribe.
The many traditions of Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groupings and communities include
solutions for environmental contamination. For instance, in the Iroko village, bush fires are common.
according to customary law is forbidden. Anyone who violates this legislation will be arrested.
The perpetrator is brought before the village chief, who levies a fine.
As it pollutes the air and spreads, combustion has a detrimental impact on the ecosystem.
erratic and in a few of cases responsible for the destruction of vast swaths of land; also a cause
severe destruction of other assets. As an example, in the case of Busari Adediga v.
Abati.4 The plaintiff requested that the defendant be notified when the
The defendant would set his farm on fire so that the plaintiff could safeguard his property. The
The defendant said that they informed the plaintiff, but the plaintiff disputed. The
2 Obilade, A.O., Nigerian Legal System, Sweet and Maxwell, London, 1979, page 83. 3 Adewale, O. Op cit.
4 Ake ‘A’ Indigenous Court 50/1934
The defendant lit his property on fire and then went fishing while it burned. The fire ceased
The wildfire damaged the plaintiff’s property. The customary court determined that notwithstanding
Since bush burning is an accepted habit, the defendant was accountable for harm to the plaintiff’s property.
the defendant’s property.
Similarly, among the Egbas, customary law governs the broad application of
about the creek and pollutants. This behavior, according to Adewale5, is uniform to some degree.
In addition to stating that it is common practice in a number of different groups,
The eastern region of Nigeria. For the most part, Nigerian customary law bans trespassing.
For instance, in the north, where Nomads migrate from one location to another,
graze their livestock Frequently, animals invade farmland, and victims file damage claims.
ensuing from their conduct
These customary rules of several cultures have been implemented.
before the introduction of colonial control. Therefore, Amokaye7 refers to this era as the first
stage of environmental legislation development in Nigeria.
Colonial governments introduced common law concepts and statutory legislation.
The beginning of the second period was characterized by administration to restrict polluting operations.
In accordance with the common law principles underlying the Nigerian legal system, it offers
Means for initiating legal action for contamination inside nuisance areas.
carelessness, land trespass, and the Rylands v. Fletcher8 rule. It is important to highlight that,
There are two sorts of annoyance: private and public nuisance, which are defined as: