locus standi as an obstacle to environmental justice in Nigeria

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LOCUS STANDI AS AN OBSTACLE TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, sex, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Environmental Justice emerged as a concept in the United States in the early 1980’s; its proponents generally view the environment as encompassing and seek to redress inequitable distributions of environmental burdens.

In Nigeria, foreign exchange earnings from crude oil sources account for the single most important source of Nigeria’s foreign exchange. Hence, since oil was discovered in the Niger Delta region of the country in commercial quantities in 1956, there have been increased activities in the oil sector in the areas of exploration and exploitation, refining, export and domestic distribution. While these oil activities have generated immense financial benefits for the country, they have also created serious health and environmental problems.

With the increase in the oil activities and its resultant consequences, it became clear that the common law remedies were not easily available to the victims of the pollution. This worked injustice on the victims. Further there was no comprehensive national policy and enforcement statute for the country’s environmental protection. It took the 1988 Koko toxic waste dump for the country to fashion out a national policy on the Environment with supporting statutory legislations.

However, even with the statutory legislation in place the problems of the victims were far from over. These victims hardly get any justice from the courts. This is because of the many impediments that comes with environmental litigation, the most troublesome being the doctrine of locus standi. The doctrine of locus standi is a common law doctrine that has found its way into our legal system. Locus standi is the existence of a right of an individual or group of individuals to bring an action before a court of law for adjudication.

This work seeks to examine the concept of environmental justice in Nigeria, what constitutes Environmental justice, its impediments, and to this extent, we will look at the doctrine of locus standi and its effect on Environmental justice. We will also look at other impediments to Environmental justice. We will also look at few foreign jurisdictions to find out how the concept of environmental justice has been applied. Finally, we will proffer solutions on how best to achieve environmental justice.

This work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the general introduction. Chapter two deals with the issue of locus standi in Nigeria. Chapter three deals with the challenges of Environmental justice. Chapter four deals with Environmental justice in foreign jurisdictions. Finally, chapter five deal with conclusion and recommendation.

TABLE OF STATUTES

LOCAL STATUTES

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979

Section 6…………………………………………27

Section 6(6) (b)……………………..24,25,26,27

Section 230(1) (o)…………………………….34

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999

Section 4(1)…………………………………….64

Section 6(6) (b)……………………..24,25,26,27

Section 251(1)………………………………..33,34

Criminal Code Act of 1916

Environmental Impact Assessment Act, 1992

Section 7………………………………………..43

Section 61……………………………………..1

Federal Environmental Protection Act, 1988

Harmful Wastes (Special Criminal Provisions) Act

Land Use Act, 1978

Section 29 (3)…………………………………44

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act, 2007

Oil Pipelines Act

 

Section 21………………………………………44

Public Health Act of 1917

 

FOREIGN STATUTES

India

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

The Constitution of India

Article 21……………………………………48, 49

Article 32……………………………………..49

Article 142……………………………………48

Article 226……………………………………48

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974

Kenya

Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999

Section 3……………………………………..51, 52

The Civil Procedure Act

Section 3……………………………………….51

The Law Reform Act

 

U.K

Environmental Information Regulations, 2004

The Administration of Justice [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act, 1938

Section 7………………………………………….62

The Climate Change Act 2008

 

INTERNATIONAL STATUTES

Convention for the Protection of Birds Useful to Agriculture 1902

Convention for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals 1911

Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds 1916

Convention Relative to the Preservation of Fauna and Flora in their Natural State

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

Principle 10……………………………………52

TABLE OF CASES

  Page

Abel Isaiah and 2 Ors v. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (2001) 6 NSCQR 542………………………………………………………………………………………………………33

Adediran v Interland Transport Ltd (1991) 9 NWLR (pt.214) 164……………………………66

Adesanya v. President of the Republic of Nigeria & Anor(1981) 2NCLR 358………………………………………………………………………………………..7, 23,24,25,26,27,62,65

A.G Kaduna State v. Hassan (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt 8) 483…………………………………………26

Amos v. Shell B.P. Nigerian Limited (1974) 4 ECSLR 486……………………………………..32

Asogwa v. Chukwu (2003) 4 NWLR (pt.811) 540…………………………………………………..32

Bangalore Medical Trust v. B.S. Muddappa (1991) 4 SCC 54…………………………………..46

Chief Gafaru Arowolo v. Chief Sunday Olowookere(2011) LPELR- SC 200/2003…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….7

C.G.G. (Nig.) Ltd. v. Amaewhile (2006) 3 NWLR (pt. 967) 284………………………………..35

C.G.G. (Nig) Ltd. v. Ogu (2005) 8 NWLR (pt.927) at 284…………………………………………33

Ejem v. Offiah (2000) 7 NWLR (pt.666) 662……………………………………………………………32

Elendu v. Ekwoaba (1995) 3 NWLR (pt. 386) 704…………………………………………………….22

F.A.T.B. v.  Ezegbu (1994) 9 NWLR (pt. 149) 236……………………………………………………26

Fertilizer Corporation Kamgar Union v. Union of India, AIR 1981 SC 344…………………..46

Fleet Street Casuals case (Inland Revenue Commissioners v. National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses) (1981) 2 All E.R. 93; (1982) A.C 617………………………..55

George Ngbor v. CGG (Nig.) Ltd & Anor Suit No. RHC/30/93…………………………………….38

Greenpeace Ltd. v. HM Inspectorate of Pollution No.2 (1994) 4 All E.R 329; (1994) 2 CMLR 548; (1994) Env. L.R 76………………………………………………………………………………..56

Francis Coralie Mullin v. Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi (1981) 1 SCC 608……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..48

Jika v. Akuson (2006) FWLR (pt.293) 276………………………………………………………………31

John Eboigbe v. NNPC (1994) 5NWLR (pt.347) at 649……………………………………………36

L.K. Koolwal v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1988 Raj 2…………………………………………………..49

Madukolu v. Nkemdilem (1962) 1 All NLR 587………………………………………………………..32

Momoh & Anor v. Oluto (1970) All NLR 121 at 127………………………………………………….8

Mumbai Kamgar Sabha v. Abdulbhai, AIR 1976 SC 1455………………………………..46

Ndule v. Ibezim (2002) 12 M.J.S 150………………………………………………………………………..32

NNPC v. Fawehinmi (1998) 7 NWLR (pt. 559) 598 at 612……………………………………….26, 28

NNPC v. Sele (2004) 5 NWLR (pt. 866) at 383………………………………………………………….44

Omega Bank Plc. v. Govt. Ekiti State (2007) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1061) 445…………………………6

Oronto Douglas v. Shell and 5 Ors(1999) 2 NWLR (pt.591) 446………………………………….43

Owodunmi v. Registered Trustees of Celestial Church & Ors(2000) 10 NWLR (pt. 675) 315………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………7, 27

R v. Paddington Valuation Office ex parte Peachey Property Corporation (1966) 1 QB 380 at 400…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………21

R v. Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, ex parte Greenpeace Ltd. (2000) 2 CMLR 94…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..57

R v. Thames Magistrate Court (1975) 5 LGR, 129……………………………………………………….21

RLEK v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others AIR 1985 SC 652………………………………………62

Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra v. State of U.P. (1985) 2 SCC 431…………………..50

Sam Odera & Ors v. National Environmental Authority & Anor (2007) eKLR……………….52

Seismograph Services Ltd v. Esiso Akpruoyo (1974) 6 SC 308……………………………………..40

Seismograph Services (Nig.) Ltd. v. Eyuafe (1976) NSCC 434………………………………………41

Seismograph Services (Nig.) Ltd. v. Ogbeni (1976) 4 S.C. 85………………………………………..40

Seismograph Services Ltd v. Onokposa (1972) 4 SC 123……………………………………………….39

Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd v. Councillor F.B. Farah and 7 Ors(1995) 3 NWLR (pt. 382) 148…………………………………………………………………………………………….19, 37

SPDC v. George Uzoaru & 3 Ors (1994) 9 NWLR (pt.366) at 51……………………………………36

Shell Petroleum Development of Nigeria Ltd. v. Halleluja Bukuma Fishermen Multi-purpose Co-operation Society Ltd Suit No. CA/PH/84/96………………………………………………………….32

Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited v. Chief Otoko & Ors. (1990) 6 NWLR (pt. 159) 693…………………………………………………………………………………………….32, 42

Shell Petroleum Development Company v. Tiebo (1996) 4 NWLR (pt.445) at 71…………….37

Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar (1991) 1 SCC 598……………………………………………………..49

  1. Damodhar Rao v. Special Officer, Municipal Corpn., Hyderabad AIR 1987 AP 171………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….49

T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad v. Union of India (1997) 2 SCC 267…………………………….48

Yahaya v. The State (2002) 3 MJS 103………………………………………………………………………..31

ABBREVIATIONS

A.C                 Appeal Cases

AIR                 All India Reporter

All ER             All England’s Reports

FWLR             Federation Weekly Law Reports

All NLR          All Nigeria Law Reports

BTS                 Base Tranreceiver Station

CAP                Chapter

CJN                 Chief Justice of Nigeria

CMLR             Common Market Law Reports

Eau                  Environmental Audits

ECSLR           East Central States Law Reports

EIA                 Environmental Impact Assessment

eKLR              Electronic Kenya Law Reports

Env. L.R         Environmental Law Reports

EMCA                        Environmental Management and Coordination Act

E.P.A              Environmental Protection Agency

E.U                  European Union

FEPA              Federal Environmental Protection Agency

J.C.A               Justice of the Court of Appeal

J.S.C                Justice of the Supreme Court

LGR                Local Government Reports

LFN                Laws of the Federation of Nigeria

L.N.G              Liquefied Natural Gas

LPELR            Law Pavilion Electronic Law Reports

M.J.S               Monthly Judgments of the Supreme Court

NCLR             Nigerian Constitutional Law Reports

NEMA                        National Environmental Management Authority

NESREA        National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency

NGO               Non Governmental Organization

NNPC             Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

NSCC             Nigerian Supreme Court Cases

NSCQR          Nigerian Supreme Court Quarterly Reports

NWLR                        Nigerian Weekly Law Reports

PIL                  Public Interest Litigation

Q.B                 Queens Bench

SEA                Strategic Environmental Assessments

S.C                  Judgments of the Supreme Court of Nigeria

S.C.C              Supreme Court Cases of India

USEPA           United States Environmental Protection Agency

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page…………………………………………………………………………………………..            i

Dedication…………………………………………………………………………………………                        ii

Acknowledgement……………………………………………………………………………..             iii

Certification………………………………………………………………………………………             iv

Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………….                        v

Table of Statutes………………………………………………………………………………..             vi

Table of Cases……………………………………………………………………………………             viii

Abbreviations…………………………………………………………………………………….             ix

Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………….                        xi

Chapter One- Introduction

1.1:      Definition of terms………………………………………………………………… 1

1.1.1:   Environment…………………………………………………………………………. 1

1.1.2:   Environmental Law……………………………………………………………….. 2

1.1.3    Environmental Protection……………………………………………………….. 4

1.1.4    Environmental Justice………………………………………………………………5

1.1.5    Locus Standi…………………………………………………………………………. 6

1.2:      Development of Environmental Law………………………………………… 8

1.3:      Development of Environmental Law in Nigeria…………………………. 10

1.4:      Development of Environmental Justice……………………………………… 13

1.5:      Development of Environmental Justice in Nigeria………………………. 16

 

Chapter Two-The Doctrine of Locus Standi in Nigeria

2.1:      The test of Locus Standi………………………………………………………….20

2.2:      The application of the doctrine of Locus Standi by the courts………22

2.3:      The problems of Locus Standi…………………………………………………..28

 

Chapter Three-The Challenges of Environmental Justice in Nigeria

3.1:      Jurisdiction……………………………………………………………………………..30

3.2:      Delays in the administration of justice………………………………………..35

3.3:      Expert Witness…………………………………………………………………………37

3.4:      Locus Standi……………………………………………………………………………39

Chapter Four-Locus Standi and Environmental Justice in Foreign Jurisdictions

4.1:      Locus Standi and Environmental Justice in India………………………..44

4.2:      Locus Standi and Environmental Justice in Kenya………………………49

4.3:      Locus Standi and Environmental Justice in the United Kingdom….52

Chapter Five-Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1:      Recommendation…………………………………………………………………….58

5.2:      Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Definition of Terms1.1.1 Environment

The term „environment‟ has been given different definitions. It has been defined as the
totality of physical, economic, cultural, aesthetic and social circumstances which surround
and affect the desirability and value of property and which also affect the quality of peoples‟
lives.

It has also been defined as „the components of the earth‟ and includes

a Land, water and air including all layers of the atmosphere

b. All organic and inorganic matter and living organisms and

c. The interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs

(a)and (b).
The first definition covers the broad concept of „environment‟. In that respect, they e
mbraceeverything within and around man that may have effect on or be affected by man. This moreexpansive concept of environment is synonymous with the human environment
The definition under Nigerian law covers a narrower concept of “environment”. This
conceptrestricts the meaning to the physical or natural environment, comprising God given naturalresources, natural elements and natural environment whether or not modified by man.
Thisnarrower concept of environment is therefore synonymous with the physical or naturalenvironment.
Flowing from the above definitions, environment is therefore earth in itstotality; air, water and land.

1.1.2 Environmental Law
The concept of environmental law refers to the integrated rules and principles i.e. legalnorms, the purpose of which is to achieve environmental conservation.

Environmental law isa complex and interlocking body of treaties, conventions, statutes, regulations, and commonlaw that operates to regulate the interaction of humanity and the natural environment towardsthe purpose of reducing the impacts of human activity.
Environmental law draws from andis influenced by principles of environmentalism, including ecology, conservation,stewardship, responsibility and sustainability. Pollution control laws generally are intended(often with varying degrees of emphasis) to protect and preserve both the naturalenvironment and human health. Resource conservation and management laws generally balance (again, often with varying degrees of emphasis) the benefits of preservation and economic exploitation of resources.

From an economic perspective environmental laws may be understood as concerned with the prevention of present and future externalities and preservation of common resources from individual exhaustion. environmental justice

Environmental law is also defined as a body of rules and regulations, and orders and statutes, concerned with the maintenance and protection of the natural environment of a country

. It provides basis for measuring and apportioning liability in cases of environmental crime andthe failure to comply with its provisions

.Environmental law in Nigeria is a body of rules and regulation which have as their object or effect, the protection of the environment from pollution and the wasteful depletion of natural resources and ensure sustainable development. environmental justice

Under the Nigerian law, environmental law includes all the sources of environmental law including the constitution, International treaties, state laws, local government laws and common law. Notwithstanding the above definitions of environmental law, it is difficult to give a precise definition of environmental law because of its nature. However, I subscribe to the definition of effect, the protection of the environment from pollution and the wasteful depletion of natural resources and ensure sustainable development.

1.1.3 Environmental Protection
Environmental protection definition includes all available practices used to protect our environment, whether on individual, organizational or global (international) level
.Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the environment, on individual,organizational or governmental levels, for the benefit of the natural environment and (or) humans. environmental justice

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