Environmental Impact Assessment Process for Oil, Gas and Mining Projects in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis

 

Allan Ingelson
Executive Director,
Canadian Institute of Resources Law & Associate Professor,
MFH 3353, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary,
Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4
allan.ingelson@ucalgary.ca


Chilenye Nwapi

Postdoctoral Fellow,
Canadian Institute of Resources Law,
MFH 3353, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary,
Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4
enyenwapi@yahoo.ca


 

 


 

Oil and gas development projects are well known to have damaging environmental effects, and that is especially true in the Niger Delta region. Since the enactment of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act in Nigeria in 1992, there has been a general perception that EIAs are seldom carried out in the region. This article presents a critical analysis of legislation and practice concerning the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for oil and gas projects in Nigeria, the world’s twelfth largest producer of crude oil. It discusses a range of reasons why the impacts of oil and gas projects are not being managed well, despite the legal requirements for EIAs. A review of Nigeria’s environmental governance is presented along with a comprehensive discussion of the EIA process and its significant deficiencies.  We argue that the EIA system for oil and gas projects in Nigeria reflects tokenism, resulting in the concentration of benefits of developments in big corporations and government officials. The EIA process in Nigeria faces many challenges that must be addressed in order to improve its effectiveness and alleviate the environmental burdens on this rich oil-producing region.

 

Environment, environmental impact assessment, Nigeria, oil and gas development.

 


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