Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


Prior to June 1988, Nigeria responded to most environmental problems on an ad hoc basis. The discovery of toxic waste dumped in Koko, at remote part of southern Nigeria, in June 1988, and the attendant media and public outcry prompted the government to react swiftly. Through diplomatic channels, the Nigerian government succeeded in getting the Italian government and the Italian company that was the culprit to lift the toxic waste out of the country. The Nigerian government followed this action by organizing an international workshop6 on the environment. The result was the formulation of a national policy on the environment. Consequently, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency 1988 (FEPA) was created and charged with the administration and enforcement of the environmental law. In addition, the government enacted the Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions) Act, 1988, to deal specifically with illegal dumping of harmful waste. This article appraises the post-Koko environmental protection laws in Nigeria, with a view to assessing environmental protection mechanisms in the country. In particular, the focus is on hazardous waste protection under the current dispensation. Part II will examine the relevant conceptual/definitional issues. Part III will review the existing legal regimes in the country, including applicable national, regional, and international laws, as well as the common and case laws applicable in the country. Part IV will review the enforcement agencies and provisions and enforcement challenges. Part V will proffer recommendations in light of recent developments in the field of environmental law.