•  Criminal Code Act55

Relevant sections of the law provide for the prevention public health hazards under Sections 245 to 248 which criminalise fouling of water56, burial in houses, vitiating of the atmosphere and selling matches made with phosphorous.

  • The Oil Pipelines Act 1956

The Act makes provision for licences to be granted for the establishment and maintenance of pipelines incidental and supplementary to oil fields and oil mining, and for purposes ancillary to such pipelines. This Act provides a compensation regime to compensate the owner of any land, whose land or interest in land is injuriously affected by the transportation of mineral oil or natural gas.57 This Act is commendable for making provisions for the courts to play roles that will ensure just assessment of compensation not only for damages done to buildings, profitable tress or crops, loss of value in land or interest in land, disturbance or damage suffered by reason of or as a consequence of a holder’s negligence.58

  • The Oil Mineral (Safety) Regulations 1963

This regulation forbids the discharge of noxious or inflammable gas and penalizes its contravention.

  • Petroleum Regulation 1967

This prohibits the discharge or escape of petroleum into waters within harbor areas and makes provision for precaution in the conveyance of petroleum and rules for safe operations of pipelines.

  • Oil in Navigable Waters Act 196859

Under this Act the discharge of oil or any mixture containing oil into the territorial or navigable inland waters is prohibited.

  • The FEPA Regime

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) Decree came as an awakening when toxic waste was dumped in a small town of Koko inDelta State in 1988. Harmful Waste Degree 42 of 1988 also came in the wake of the Koko Toxic Waste Dump saga. Under the FEPA Act,the Agency was empowered to set national environmental standards with respect to water quality, air quality and noise control. FEPA also empowered to make recommendations regarding programmes for the control of any substances, practice, process or activity which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.
As a legislative response to the Koko-type of problems, section 2(1) of the Act provides that “the discharge in such harmful quantities of any hazardous substances into the air or upon the land and the waters of Nigeria or at the joining shoreline is prohibited, except where such discharge is permitted or authorized under any law in force in Nigeria”. The FEPA law provided a penalty of N100, 000 ($ 275.10) or imprisonments up to ten years in the case of an individual offender and a whopping sum of N500, 000.00 ($ 1, 375.52) for corporate bodies. N500 ($ 1.38) is imposed for everyday the offence subsisted. The offender, in addition to the fine or imprisonment stated above would also be required to pay:
The cost of removal thereof, including any costs, which may be incurred by any Government body or agency on the restoration or replacement of natural resources damaged or destroyed as a result of the
cost of third parties in the form of reparation, restoration, restitution or compensation as may be determined by the Agency and any other relevant policy.
This was the position of the law for the prevention of environmental degradation in Nigeria before the passage of National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESRA) Act 2007.

  • The National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency -NESREA Regime

As the scope of FEPA began to broaden, a new agency was set up to cope more effectively withthe new challenges. FEPA metamorphose into National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) by NESREA Act 2007.NESREA has branches in all the States of the Federation of Nigeria. NESREA mandate includes: monitoring, reduction, and protection of theNigeria environment.
The National Environmental Standard Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) is an agency of the federal ministry of Environment charged with the responsibility of enforcing all the environmental laws, regulations and standards in deterring people, industries and organization from polluting and degradingthe environment. NESREA Act was signed into law by former late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua(GCFR) and this was published in the federal Republic of Nigeria
official gazett. NESREA has the mandate for protection and development of the environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of the Nigeria natural resources in general and environmental technology including coordination and liaison with relevant stake holders within and outside Nigerian on enforcement of standards,regulations, rules, laws, policies and guidelines.
Functions of the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA)include:
Enforce compliance with laws, guidelines, policies and standards on and standard matters;
coordinate and liaison with stake holders within and outside Nigeria, matters on environmental standards, regulations and enforcement;
Enforce compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocol, conventions and treaties on the environment including climate change, biodiversity conservation, desertification, forestry, oil and gas, chemicals, agreements as may from time to time come into force;
Enforce compliance with policies, Standard, legislations and guidelines on water quality, environmental health and sanitation, including pollution abatement;
Enforce compliance with guidelines, and legislations policies, and legislations on sustainable management of the ecosystem, biodiversity, conservation development of the Nigeria natural resources,
Enforce compliance with any legislation on sound chemical management, safe use of pesticides, and disposal of spent packages
Enforce compliance with regulations on importation, exportation and distribution,storage, sale, use, handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals, and waste other than in the oil and gas sector;
Enforcethrough compliance monitoring, environmental regulations and Standards on noise, air, land, sea, oceans and other water bodies other than in the oil and gas sector
Ensure the environmental project funded by donor organization and external support agencies adhere to regulations in environmental safety and protection;
Enforce environmental control measures through registration, licensing and permitting system other than in the oil and gas sector;
Conductenvironmental audit and establish data bank on regulatory and enforcement mechanism of environmental standards other than in the oil and gas sector;
Create public awareness and provide environmental education on sustainable environmental management, promote private sector compliance with environmental regulations other than in the oil and gas sector and publish general scientific or other data resulting from the performance of its functions; and
Carry out such activities as are necessary or expedient for the performance of its


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