The Nigerian State has an objective to improve and protect the air, land, water, forest and wildlife of Nigeria. The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act, 2007 (“NESREA Act”) is the primary environmental legislation in Nigeria. NESREA is responsible for protecting the environment, biodiversity conservation, sustaining Nigeria’s natural resources and enforcement of environmental laws. There are regulations for the protection of the environment, ozone layer protection, sanitation and wastes, noise and standards, soil erosion and flood, coastal and marine area protection, surface and ground water quality, etc.
Federal environmental laws include: (i) the Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions, Etc.) Act with the specific objective of prohibiting carrying, depositing and dumping of hazardous wastes on any land and territorial waters in Nigeria; (ii) the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) Act with principles, procedure and methods for the evaluation of the environmental impact of certain projects and activities; (iii) the Criminal Code has penal provisions for certain acts that endanger public health and the environment; and (iv) the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act (“NSRP Act”) regulates the use of radioactive substances and equipment emitting and generating ionising radiation.
There are also sector-specific laws and guidelines on environment i.e. in the oil and gas sector; the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (“NOSDRA”) Act regulates the detection of waste from oil production and exploration. The Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (“EGASPIN”) 2002, issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources (“DPR”), sets environmental standards for the industry.
States laws, regulations and agencies protect the environment within the states. The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency Law established the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (“LASEPA”). LASEPA’s functions include monitoring and controlling the disposal of waste in Lagos State and advising the State Government on all environmental management policies. The Environmental Pollution Control Law, regulates the control of pollution and protection of the environment from abuse due to poor waste management.
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