Environmental Protection And The Role Of National Policy And Guidelines In Nigeria
Keywords:Policy, environmental guidelines, environmental agencies, legal status, implementation,
National policies generally are meant to guide the government in decision making towards the achievement of a specific result. In the desire to improve and protect the environment, the Nigerian government has enacted and reviewed dozens of legislations and formulated environmental policies and guidelines, however, whether there is a corresponding outcome has been a subject matter of extensive scholarship. This article seeks to explore the contribution of the National Policy on the Environment (NPE) and the guidelines for the protection of the environment in Nigeria especially considering that they are mere action plans and policy statements. The article observes that, though, the NPE and the guidelines for the protection of the environment are very robust, comprehensive and aspirational, there is a wide gap between the policy, the law and the practice as regard the protection of the environmental in Nigeria. It is further observed that the enforcement of the NPE and the guidelines is a huge challenge because the constitutional provision from which the policies and guidelines derive their validity (i.e. section 20 of the Constitution) is itself nonjusticiable. Besides the issue of non justiciability, the goals of the NPE and the guidelines do not seem to have been extensively achieved. The article finds that this is majorly as a result of a number of factors which include lack of political will to drive quality implementation and the failure of the regulatory organs and the State to provide a forum for public participation by involving the public in the making of the policies and in the implementation strategy.