International Journal of Law, Policy and Social Review

International Journal of Law, Policy and Social Review


International Journal of Law, Policy and Social Review
International Journal of Law, Policy and Social Review
2021, Vol. 3, Issue 2
Prosecuting environmental crimes in Nigeria

Christopher M Inwang

Environmental crimes in Nigeria, like other climes, are offences against the environment, particularly the contravention of legislation, codes, guidelines, standards and regulations enacted to prevent pollution of land, air, water, biodiversity degradation and the ecosystem as well as the deleterious consequences on the environment, rights holders and victims of violation. Violators or offenders are either humans or corporate beings, who interfere with nature’s order of the environment, the intervention may be by exploitation of the natural resources for development or industrial activities. This article examines the effectiveness of prosecution of such environmental offenders in Nigeria in line with existing legislation, National Environmental Standards, Regulation and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act, 2007. The research concludes that there has been no successful prosecution of environmental offenders in Nigeria since the inception of the array of legislation enacted for the protection of the Nigerian environment. There is no gain saying that environmental crime is very specialised specie of the Nigerian Jurisprudence. Though the two elements of environmental crime ie mens rea, actus reus, and standard of proof – beyond reasonable doubt remain the same as any traditional crime, the standard of proof and the proof of evidence, material or substantial, are way beyond the reach of an average legal practitioner. Prosecution is therefore frustrating and unaffordable for victims. The work recommends that Courts with special jurisdiction on environmental issues be created. And further that, intensive capacity building of relevant stakeholders built on environmental criminal jurisprudence; adequate public enlightenment program embarked upon to create awareness on the right of citizens to seek redress in case of violation.
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