December 18, 2015



Environmental Degradation is a thorn in the flesh of economies worldwide even where hydrocarbon wealth hardly exist given the fact climate change is a major topics that dominates  academic ,media ,political and scholarly debates worldwide .The recently concluded  climate change conference in Paris is a pointer to the immense need to cater for the environment currently abused worldwide still at loggerheads to reach consensus concrete resolution even though it was agreed as major ecological threat.Nigeria is not an exception given the fact that Niger Delta is the single largest industrial complex worldwide in terms of contribution to greenhouse gases .In this incendiary treatise ,the blogger explores the challenges facing the country in the last 60 years like the rest of the world if not far worse in a country in which social safety net hardly exist for the hapless people of oil rich region.Enjoy the reading.

Niger Delta as an open book that can be read by nearly everyone including a toddler without  any evidence of special skills is an open sore in the international community .Inspite of monumental endowment and quintessential natural asset wealth deposit ,the first 50 years of oil exploration has brought nothing but untold hardship to its hapless citizens.Niger Deltans  today unarguarbly are the poorest Nigerians  living  perennially being repressed in that geographical and demo graphical contraption that is called "Nigeria" that we so much loved and cherished to be  called a nation .Truly speaking , the discovery of blackgold by hydrocarbon vultures can not be exonerated from the perpetual plunder of human right abuse , heartless genocide and  monumental ecological devastation of the region who are bent on milking it dry to the shame of the posterity and generation yet unborn  .We review here in a jiffy  the challenges facing the region,insensitivity of the laws and oil industry in particular proffering the enduring  solution as the most ideal strategic resource to confront  the tireless intimidating   hurdles facing the  region and the Nigerian economy at large.
Niger Delta as an extensive marshland covering wide expanse fused together by Deltas and a host of other natural endownments comprising its topography .These includes major tributaries such as Num ,Forcados , Sunbriomo  and  St,Bartholomew emptied into the Atlantic Ocean and  feeding its users mainly fishermen and farmers as local inhabitants and inheritors of nature's gifts .
With the benefit of checkered antecedence ,the Niger Delta still remains a scar in the conscience of western civilization .Besides Congo Basin which controls 40 percent of World total strategic minerals, Niger Delta and Niger Delta industrial complex is unarguably the richest part of Africa .70 percent of World 's total fauna and flora are located here in Africa but amazingly some 60 percent of these mineral resources can be found in Niger Delta.
The word  'Delta '  in the 5th century B.C. was coined by Herodotus -a Greek Historian to describe Nile Delta .A discrete shoreline protuberances which clustered where rivers ,lakes ,lagoon and Oceans inter-mingled with semi -enclosed areas and distributing sediments faster than it can be re channeled by  its basinal process.River Deltas are often influenced  the convergence of water bodies ,civilisation settlements ,economic activities , cultural exchange and free flow of rivers .Naturally ,landlocked economies are usually much more deprived of this magnitude in terms of ecological assets and the size of economic activities in a seagoing region extremely differs from landlocked region .This alone can make desert societies a lot more greener with envy and avarice all in the crave of heartless raiding and capitalist aggression, usurping oil wealth in the region and carted away illegally to beautify western metropolis   .
River Niger to put it succinctly has the 9th largest drainage area of World rivers .This drains into the Niger Delta which is also regarded as one of the largest  wetlands in the world  with over 20, .The compositional four ecological areas includes Mangroves freshwater,Swamp forests,Coastal barrier Islands  and low land rainforests.The demographical challenges facing the territory started with this somewhat imprecated oil wealth .
Generally ,the Mangrove forest in the country is  the 3rd largest in the world and the largest in Africa .It is the most extensive freshwater swamp forest  in the west and central Africa.Over 60percent of the nation 's mangrove rainforest is found in Niger Delta in a vast area accessible only by boat .Over 80percent of the region is excessively flood prone and unfortunately delta wide flood and erosion management plan hardly exist .With large oil and gas deposit controling 90 percent of the nation's production outputs ,extensive forest ,and vast agricultural resources built on a vast flood plain the last 50 years have been shortchanged not only  by chronic underdevelopment and the prowling of the vultures but more or less by lethargy of political class .70 percent poverty rate is not only disturbing but the level of youth restiveness,rising vendata  and socially disruptive behaviour had escalated  during the period  and still not yet abated.
The Niger Delta states have extensive fish resources estimated at between 270,000-366,000m.t produced annually .It has no comprehensive fishery managemnet approach .Coastal areas  reserved for artisanal fishing and larger estuaries are taken over by fishing trawlers pillaging the natural benthic environment that is exploited as  piscatory ground for  breeding and nursery purposes .The areas that fishery and nursery thrive  have been taken over  by invasion of Nypa palm hindering the mangrove seedlings regeneration in these areas coupled with the destruction of mangrove forests .The rivers and lagoon channels dredging and alteration has recorded increased flooding ,diverted flow and hindered fishing and breeding.Entrophication of water bodies resulting   in depleted oxygen water layers ..The surface of water bodies , ground water ,drinking water have been badly polluted including  oil polluted soils  and untilised agricultural lands   .
This ecological profile by itself cannot only be intimidating as it were but had been a source of public envy to desert but advanced economies of the world lacking such quintessence .The massive brigandage and incessant looting of the last half century can be linked to the prevalence of  this unbridled capitalist avarice and the degenerative quagmire of western aggression .Nevertheless let us explore  a  little deeper the word' Niger Delta' as enthused by local tongues.
In  the OMPADEC Dream,A.K HORSFALL noted there is no consensus definition for Niger Delta as found among the citizens based on the survey of spokesmen of the region .They see Delta based on political definition '' geographically  as a triangle  with its apex between Ndoni  and Aboh descending eastwards  to the Qua Iboe River  at Eket and westwards  to the Benin River with its base along the Atlantic coast between the bights of Benin and the Biafra'' It also consists of politically clustered six states of the federation comprising the South Southern  region namely-Akwa Ibom ,Bayelsa,Delta,Rivers,Cross Rivers ,Edo.The core Niger Delta includes Rivers,;Delta and Bayelsa and to some extent Akwa Ibom in aditttion to the periphery states such as Ondo,Anambra ,Edo ,Cross River and Imo States .In contrast the elastic school contends that both these groupings core and periphery constitute the Niger Delta comprehensive formation.
While others saw it as a rainbow region 'where diverse ethnic nationalities have found a home ,some argued it comprises of three aboriginal groups namely -the Ijaw of  Edonoid groups and the Ibibio and the rest were formed by protestants and the refugees who fled the harsh Benin rule .
It can be contended for the umpteenth time the discovery of blackgold unmasked the renaissance of rampant looting ,unbridled kleptocracy ,economic colonization and remorseless brigandage of the natural resources endowment of the indigenous minorities in Niger Delta .Writing in the ''Oil And Gas Exploration In The Niger Delta;The Social And Demographical Challenges'' , published in the defunct Post Express more than  dozen years ago -April 26 ,2001 pg. 24],Nnimo Bassey Nigeria 's foremost Environmental Rights Activism-ERA consultant and quintessential ecological expert once noted :that ''the first succesful  of oil well in west Africa was  drilled in Oloibiri in 1956 .When this feat was attained ,it was an  achievement of great joy for the oil giant-Shell and for the people of Ogbia it gave them reason to hope .The oil wells brought in bright lights and  fast life ,both largely restricted to the facilities of the oil company .Today , Oloibiri site is a forlorn sight .The lights  have since  been extinguished  and the dushes hold sway .Accessing the oil well today takes the determination of an explorer ‘’ .The road to Oloibiri now is a road serfdom and a reminder of the holocaust years
Then he concluded ";If the Oloibiri well truly becomes a millennium monument as the minister for environment announced ,it may take the faint hearted a millennium to make it there''.Today Oloibiri  has not only become a national embarrassment by all ramification but also an international shame of monumental proportion .The discovery of oil has brought nothing but mass deprivation and total penury to the people of Niger Delta .  
From all indication of socioeconomic indices ,the most horrible standard of living,the lowest life expectancy  and the poorest region of the country can be found there .The subsidiary factors responsible for the prevalence of poverty in the region  include-environmental degradation ,oil extraction activities both related ,which by nature is intrinsically hostile to the people and unrelated but indirectly influenced by potential wealth not tapped .The crossing of creeks and farmlands with pipelines ,oil flow stations and oil installations and the inherent intermittent massive spills not properly cleaned up better testified to the callous aggressors in connivance with heartless politicians in the country .
This economic terrorism begins at the exploratory stage .The brutal opening of rainforest, mangrove swamps and a host of voluminous seismic activities .They undermined the existing biodiversity pillaged watercourses ,wild life and fauna and flora .The illegal loggers plundering the local ecological resources which were meant to sustain the social life of local people ;the importation of strange cultures, extensive pauperization and dislocation of its people has been the punitive reward for the first 50 years of independence. This stage put the  region on the world map as the most unfriendly ecological habitat in the world .
So many waters have since passed under the bridge and diverse and misleading reports wielded through the media were bandied aboard and disseminated to unwary public. For instance one calls quickly to mind a piece written by Doifie Ola entitled A Voice Against Shell'' published in ThisDay on September 16 , 2001 ,page 35 that specifically lamented the alarming proportion of false publication and false propaganda by Shell and its proxies claiming Shell as a socially responsible corporate citizen ''immensely concerned about the welfare of communities where it operates''  .The statistical abuse  and gross intellectual terrorism had been massively adopted over the last first  59 years of her operation relentlessly reeled out to deceive unsuspecting ,ignorant public  and gullible Nigerians . During the period under survey series of book and articles were published but the most important book during the period -a well research masterpiece  entitled :Where The Vultures Feast :Forty Years of Shell In The Niger Delta '' published in the United States by Sierra Books and Random House written by two authors Ike Okonta and late Oronto Douglass hits the newstand It is an explosive encounter of the imperial activities of  Shell and fellow vultures-the multinationals  in the Niger Delta  .This account of environmental degradation still stood out more than a dozen years after and hardly miss the road contrary to those who absolve shell and the multinationals of any acts of atrocities in the region.
We cannot also be forced to ignore the fact that local laws were specially crafted in a way to repress the minorities in the land especially in the region.Infact the Nigerian constitution made no provision for them   .Media sources put it succinctly that there are over 40 laws so much crafted in this way to repress the gullible minorities .Federal laws such as petroleum decree 51 of 1969 and the infamous land use act decree of 1978  are completely inhuman and so bad that ''they give a legal teeth to the stealing of the land and resources of the people''.
Dofie interestingly captures the gravity of the situation ,hear him:
''Characteristically ,Shell and other western multinationals oil corporations have profited from these legal but illegitimate instruments .They have used  these obnoxious laws to secure mining licenses from central government.They have used these unjust laws  to appropriate farm lands ,forests and waters from local communities .They have used these undemocratic laws as a cover to disregard the rightful complaints of their host communities.But  then ,it is a fundamental truth  that Shell and its ilks have run foul of even these bad laws .For instance , the petroleum decree makes it clear  that oil installations should not be built  on sacred land-a provision which  Shell  has deliberately neglected across the N.Delta .This is the case at Yorla and Ebubu in Ogoniland where Shell has oil wells  in sacred lands.''
In the cemetery that had been existing as far back as 1812-the sacred burial place of Ohali-Elu in  Ogba -Egbema  local government  areas of Rivers State ,graves were unearthed ,bones and skulls excavated  and ''crushed ''to pave way for pipelines  construction .This happened  in April 1998  when Shell was  contractors took on the liquefied  natural gas project.They have also incessantly contravened the numerous legislation such as the oil and navigable waters act  of 1968 ;Oil pipelines  act  of 1956,the petroleum -drilling and  production  regulations -1967 and the petroleum act of 1969 ,the Associated gas -reinjection  act of 1979,the environmental impact assessment-ERA  of 1992  ,the oil and gas pipelines act of 1993 ,mineral oil safety act of 1997 .In addition to voluminous guidelines being reeled out annually from the ministry  and the department  of   petroleum ,these environmental standards and  robust guidelines laid the platform on oil pollution for the performance of the industry -its  quality services for optimal delivery  .
Nigeria is also a  signatory to  several international agreements on environment .The international convention on oil pollution preparedness Response and Coordination  -OPRC .
OPRC specifically addresses oil activity and pollution. Its objectives include :marine oil pollution prevention in accordance to adequate precautionary measures on response to the  event of occurrence  of oil pollution and mutual cooperation between states in order to fulfill these objectives .There are other international environmental  consensus or agreements  such as Vienna convention for the protection of Ozone layer ,The Montreal protocol  and the London Amendment ,Convention on biological diversity and the international convention on pollution as earlier noted are some of the legal instruments on parade in the international community to lubricate trade and transport.
Respect for human rights and the minority question especially this hapless region  is vital ingredient for promotion of national cohesion.The United Nations framework is there for all nations to follow and Nigeria should not be an exception. She is signatory to the U.N. Declaration of Human rights of 1948 which clearly stipulates what constitutes human rights .The African Charter on Human and People's rights in accordance to the article 63-sub-3, of the OAU or AU provides another legal framework. These are vital legal instruments upon which the above environmental laws were enacted for the protection of the integrity of human persons .
The word human right itself may not have generally accepted meaning but surely in its simplest appeal can be explained graphically as those form of rights that allow an individual to recognize the true essence of his existence ,his worth as human person irrespective of his educational background,colour,race,religion,tribe,nationality ,naturality ,creed ,philosophy and diverse cultural barriers etc .The concern for human rights in the country dates back to the colonial epoch, when the then erstwhile overlords regarded it as their  duty to civilize the so called'' savages '' and to transform such brutes as they ignorantly  called them into civilized European tradition .The colonial era was fraught with extensive abuse of human right up till its dying days and prospects of independence still regarded the savages as no worthy of been freed -an epoch that was saved by people's agitation for independence .
Unfortunately ,the minorities felt and sensed a feeling of betrayal by the majority tribes even before independence, protested to colonial authority  and expressed their dissatisfaction ,that they desired their own independence nations as worthy citizens in their own rights in their own lands without threat of aggression from dominant tribes.This minority ethnic ,religious ,political and economic groups made known their grievances to stand alone and were apprehensive of discrimination ,abuse of political power and indigenous imperialism from the dominant tribes which they believed would get worse  after independence .Even in the Northern region ,the minority there expressed similar opinions especially local native  police and traditional chiefs using their power to intimidate and arrest subjects and opposition. The western region 's minorities also did not fail to complain of allegation of discrimination and marginalization in the civil service appointments including sharing of resources  . The eastern region's minority groups  made similar complaints about deliberate public service neglects and equitable distribution of resources.
It was this feeling and fear of indigenous imperialism by majority tribes   that led to the minority groups's agitation which fought for separation and detachment from the North of a middle belt State,in the East for the Calabar -Ogoja-Rivers State and the West with the breaking away of midwestern region-Edo and Delta in 1964..Infact the setting up of the Willinck commission -1957-58 by the British Colonial government was principally motivated by this divisive tendencies .Shortly after the probe in the complaints of the minority groups the commission made recommendation which inserted fundamental right clauses into the constitution  basically to protect the minority groups and avert their grief and despair .Shortly after independence ,the 1960 constitution specifically made provision for them..For instance , in the sections 17 to 32  provide for protection of fundamental  human rights of the citizens as follows against'' .....deprivation of life , inhuman treatment ,slavery and forced labour ,deprivation of personal liberty , private and family life ,freedom of conscience,expression,freedom of peaceful assembly ,association and movement ,freedom from discrimination and compulsory acquisition of property .
Inspite of the lofty provisions ,it did stop flagrant abuse of power  and infringement on the fundamental human right of the minority groups for close to 60 years of independence .Even before the advent of the military rule ,the 1962 and 1964  Tiv crisis brutally handled by the Northern People's congress -NPC  dominant government of the period brings to memory the callous briddle of this ordeal .There are so many ethnic nationality conflicts such as Ugep-Ndomi war of 1992;the Urhobo-Itsekiri crisis of 1992;the Ijaw-Itsekiris crisis of 1997-98;the Zangon-Kataf crisis in Southern Zaria ;the TIV-Junkum conflicts in Wukari LGA in Taraba State ;the Mangu-Bokko conflicts  on the Jos ,Plataeu;the Ijaw-Ilaje crisis of 1998 ;the Okrika-Ogoni war of 2000;the Ijaw- Urhobo battle with the Gbarigolo area in 1996 ;the Hausa -Ibo in Kano;the Sharia riots in Kaduna,2000 and reprisals in certain parts of Iboland; the Yoruba-Hausa conflicts like the one in Shagamu in  1998  including the Kano reprisals and then again the Yoruba-Hausa pitched ,Lagos,2000 etc .
There are other intra-ehtnic clashes such as the Ife-modakeke wars,the Isoko internal wars; the Degema-kalabari affray;the Igbo -Ora-Yoruba conflicts .The public relation management practice of ethnic nationality crisis for this form of challenge has not often too good in this part of the world .The causes of ethnic crisis is too historical and has been noted above that minority groupings  were skeptical before independence of being assured of dignified in the polity of new nation and indeed were repressed by majority tribes and superior ethnic groupings.Loosing their sovereignty and the political space that they call homeland in which they enjoyed autonomy prior to amalgamation of 1914 now sacrificed against all intents and purpose for the new nation cannot be detached as the rootstock of these intermittent crisis.And since the creation of more States ,Nigerians now guard their States more jealously ,emotionally ,politically and demographically .Since pre-independence era ,when Umoru Altine -a Hausa-Fulani was a mayor of Enugu ,another Ernest Ikolie a Rivers Ijaw dominated Lagos politics ; Chief Ekuyasi -Igbo of Ebusa won election in Benin city ; and another one Ebubedike ,an igbo won election into Ajegunle in the old western house in Ibadan .Very few Nigerians stiil win election outside their ethnic nationalities and homeland . 
Junk journalism had also come to be a bottleneck and its manner of managing ethnic crisis speaks volume of its inadequacy and unfortunate limitation .For instance  even long after the Ijaw and Itsekiri crisis ,the use of the word of relocation by the media still rings disharmony and hollow propensity of our media pundits .While the Ijaw had argued that a Warri South Local government with its headquarters at Ogbe -Ijoh  was created in 1996  for them  through decree No.36 0f 1996 and 7 of 1997 Warri-South West Local Government   and why  would the Itsekiri influenced the relocation of what belong to them  to Ogidigben -an Itsekiri community? So,Willinck commission was right after all and how effective were the strategic implementation of  its provision in the constitutions?
This antecedence of minority groups' repression became pronounced during the military era within the political,economic ,social and cultural landscape that is Nigeria in which Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo once called ''a mere geographical expression''.Due to this tendency for being subsumed into the majority group blocs , they invariably nursed this feeling of marginalization and the worst form of minority groups' general abuse can be found in the Niger Delta ;beginning with the struggle of Isaac Adaka Boro  and his colleagues ' attempt to break away from the country .Boro's agitation for self determination and separation of the Niger Delta was frustrated by the federal authorities. The attempt by the defunct  Bafra nation was only a reminder of the long truncated struggle that Adaka Boro started several years before the civil war.
When Adaka Boro exploded in the early 60s and launched a major revolution to seized oil installations in the region using armed gangs to possibly that later precipitated indirectly the civil war of 1967 ,he became an instant hero and later absorbed into the  NIGERIAN ARMY and subsequently ,died fighting the cause of one Nigeria at last.Ever since ,the fight against human right abuse has taken the front burner with human right activism taken the onus to protect the integrity of human persons not just minority nationwide.Credit must go to the patriots for sacrificing their lives for close 60 years strengthening of nation building at the cost of their lives .

How effective have been in the implementation and enforcement of this internationally acclaimed conventions ?The government formally recognized statutory institution-the federal environmental protection agency  saddled with the mandate to manage oil pollution  and other environmental hazards being under control of the federal ministry of  environment and various state ministries empowered by appropriate legislation  to safeguard the environment  have been found wanton .The modes of granting licenses as well as modalities for oil prospecting , oil  lifting ,by appropriate institution leaving out oil prospecting states   smacks of inequity . 
International law is applicable only to boundary and border disputes among nations which seems to curb potential damaging effect.Only , the injured neighbor has grounds to seek  legal redress and diplomatic consoles. The State shares similar passion and issues such as coastal states shoreline altercation in which resolution is beyond a single nation's competence to handle and requires multinational competence and expertise to restore legal sanity .
The United Nations convention on the laws of the sea -UNCLOS specifically addresses this burden and a consensus that reflects international relationship management as may be construed from time to time .''Article 21 provides legal framework to protect the right of coastal  states which may adopt regulation and appropriate laws  that conforms with the conventions and a host of international laws.This prevents marine originality depletion , environmental crisis ,and control pollution and degradation.Public observance and international consensus compliance is vital for its success.
To exploit ,conserve and manage  both living  and inanimate  natural resources including those of seabed '' subsoil super adjacent waters ''.Article 56 provides and gives the exclusive rights and preserves jurisdiction for coastal states for  this purpose ..This covers the entire zone's exploration,exploitation or basically the riparian rights of the region.This also includes energy production from water currents and winds .While they use these rights the act campaign against right abuse or abuse of the rights of other states
There are articles that confer rights and duties and also some articles of the convention deal with enforcement of these rights and duties .In the developing nations the challenge of observance and effective supervision and monitoring to prove that activities in one coastal states not unleash damaging effects on the coastal states........-Fagbohun-2008]
On April 30,1982 the long awaited law of the sea governing  the use of the seas and the exploitation of seabed resources inspite of its disappointments  was adopted by the United States laws  of the sea -UNCLOSconference at the conclusion of its eleventh session  after a grueling eight years of negotiation  by a vote of 130-4 oriented for the governance and exploitation of the oceans.The treaty 's 320 articles and nine annexes provide guidelines for the drawing of marine boundaries ,legal duties' assignment, and responsibilities laying out mechanism for claims settlement .This broadbased treaty regulates virtually every aspects of human use of the seas ranging from aircraft passage  to ships navigation and maritime natural and   mineral resources .It  gives each coastal nation exclusive rights to the fish and other marine life in a zone called exclusive economic zone stretching 200 nautical miles from its shores.''Countries separated by a body of water below 400 nautical miles wide must establish  a dividing line for their respective  zones through negotiation''.The treaty also provides that each nation has the exclusive rights to the oil , natural gas and other continental shelf oil resources that stretch not  more than 350 miles beyond the coast .The treaty calls for establishment  of international seabed authority affiliated to the United Nations to regulate international waters mining . Disputes involving nations including individual companies according to the treaty are to be settled in almost all cases by the international tribunal  for the law of the sea or by international court of Justice at Hague  .-1983 Year Book -Encyclopedia.
Besides the UNCLOS as an international environmental law  ,we know that every nation has its own domestic laws especially in relation to praedal asset such as  real estate laws  ,land laws and environmental laws as relevant in this context.Like the real estate laws such as the received English statutes-section 45 of the Interpretation act -1964.This gives legality  to this alien statutes from England  adopted in operation in the country beginning from January 1st ,1900 adopted by Nigerian legal system until the eve of independence or there about .The statutes of frauds-1677,Conveyance act--1881 both still applicable in the country .The most dominant being the land use act decree of 1978 marked the turning point in the history of land administration in which all lands belong to government .Every state has its state land registry where searches can be made and back up by its land instrument registration laws upon which the registries were thus  created for  regulation of  land instrument registration ,ascertaining of land titles and land location and other searches work perfectly to organise the industry.
There is also the registration of land titles laws especially relevant in places called registration districts as noted in some parts of Lagos.The property and conveyancing act of 1959 dominant in old western and middle western region of Nigeria excluding Lagos ,Stamp duties act specifies procedures for stamping documents with main purpose for generating revenues for government.Evidence act is another sample relevant to real estate development and is strictly proven rules of evidence and dispute settlement in land matters .Case laws and Common laws provide credible sources with the former often popularly known as judge made laws emanated from the interpretations of the Nigerian court rulings correcting legal errors and omissions of the latter .Other laws such as the town and country planning law in Lagos State,Capital gains tax ,Survey act/laws, The rent control and recovery of residual premises act/law in Lagos State ,Estate law administration etc.These laws are quite operational despite their structural bottlenecks ,ensure smooth running and greasing of land administration in the country .In the same way one expects environmental laws in the country to be effectively applied using land as asset to the people -the original owner rather than as a curse    .Given the legal principle-Quic  Quid  Plantato Solo Solo Cedit  -which  says the legal owner of a  land automatically owns what is also on it .See-Gaji Vs Paye /2003/8NWLR/PT.823/583] ,there can be no denying the fact that ownership belonging to community held in trust by federal authorities must be made to work for its people at the grassroot  to whom the latter owes its  allegiance and not for repression or brutalisation of the hapless in the land .
The multinational buccaneers of justice are the reason why those laws hardly worked in the country .And they have their laws in their own countries  perfectly working for them and they comply with them only to impugn and abuse similar laws in alien lands .What are these laws that we refer to ?These are environmental laws basically the body of laws regulating and prevention of environmental pollution  in communities .So ,mordern problems such as  fumes,toxic wastes,noise from industrial plants ,automobiles , planes, trains .Debris such as cans,plastics,bottles pollute the habitats and also oil spillages,and a host of others recognised the evils of modern life .Until the mordern era ,America held laisez faire belief uncompromisingly ,ever expanding westward ,encouraging mass production without considering the implication on  the environments .This built impetus to the evolution of its own domestic environmental laws .Why the need? It was necessary giving  the quatum growth of modern era and environmentally destructive pace of industrial revolution and the inadequacies of prior laws of the twentieth century  to contain pollution also necessitated the new order.
Today the American society has accepted that there must be limitation  to freedom of action and' no man is an island unto himself ' as noted by John Dunne several centuries ago .Consequently ,  a number  of federal research on environmental precautions  came onboard to look at the or into the effect of the environment upon economy and mankind.Several laws came into being as adopted by the Congress such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 ,Water and Environmental Quality Improvement Act Of 1970,the Federal Air Quality Act amended supplemented by Air Quality Act of 1967,the Clean Air Amendment Act of 1970 and the National Motor Vehicles Emission Standards Act which established standards for reducing pollution from planes ,autos and fuel consumption with the requirement to produce pollution free auto-mobile engine by 1975.
The United States department of health ,Education and welfare was responsible for implementation of clean air act and divided the country into atmosphere areas  .A strategy that was used to apply controls ,while the federal air pollution control administration regulates automobile exhausts .The federal aviation makes similar policies and regulations for airplanes and safeguarding airworthiness. Diverse forms of regulations came onboard ranging from primary and secondary ambient setting air quality standards ,performance standard ,federal prevention , control and air pollution abatement measuration techniques ,smoke etc.Inspection guides also includes :autos, air pollution standards ,carbon monoxides,hydrocarbons,nitrogen oxides,particulates, sulphur dioxides and photochemical  oxidants criteria;mobile sources driven ' control techniques for carbon monoxide,nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons ; Stationary sources 'driven hydrocarbons and organic nutrients ;control techniques for particulates ; control techniques for sulphur dioxides .
Even from the ordinary  emission of the asbestos standards was set and to a larger extent , mercury and berylium dust .Federal regulations were adopted and well implemented and by early 70s was proposed for extension to Cadmium dust and the adoption of standard to restrain emission of odors was considered by the Environmental  Protection Administration-EPA.Noise pollution ,popularly refers to as extensive imposition of noise upon the air was also adequately attended to.Unlike the prior law ,that had made provision for scanty protection for land owner 's protection from noise damage ,the emerging law went a little bit further .For instance ,the use of sound truck or loud speaker for advertising purposes can be curtailed when it interferes with the nearby land owner's safety or neighboring lands.The flight of planes ,making excessive noise to discomfort local residents can be censured and sanctioned .It can be blocked by an injunction to stop use of the erring airport or divert its particular flight pattern.These offerings are closely related to taking a property and compensation for damages can be considered .
The need for protection against noise  pollution  did not appreciate nor was fully recognised until the expansion of commercial jet aircraft in the 60s .However ,the main object of the federal noise pollution and abatement act of 1970 was to study the effect of noise and noise pollution as a potential threat to life and property .It is an extension of an earlier law and the concept of public nuisance was so intended because prior laws did not cover ample ground to provide suitable guide for solution to this modern problem which requires a modern solution to modern problem . The federal aviation act of 1958  deals with reduction of noise by regulation to ensure such goal of reduction was attained .The regulation also includes states 'laws and ancillary rules adopted by federal authorities  operating airports .Except for few exceptions ,States were empowered to regulate noise from autos, motor cycles and other vehicles and the activities between States ' authorities regulating local landing of supersonic aircraft are well streamlined to perfectly fits and not interfere with  Federal control authorities ,for instance engaged in interstate commerce .Infact in the preamble to American constitution ,it ensures safeguarding of human and corporate privacy ,with the principal word ,''to assure domestic tranquility  ''.
Water pollution are controlled by both States and federal statutes including the dumping of industrial wastes and consequently , spreading of diseases  .Liabilities are imposed by statutes for damage and clean up expenditures emanating from every drop of oil spillages in the navigable waters ,rivers and ocean.The following   statutes as  invariably  applied  includes:the Refuse Act of 1899-that barred dumping of wastes in  navigable waters ;Water Quality Improvement Act  of 1970;Water Resources Research ACT ;Water Research and Planning act;Water Research  and Development act ;Federal administrative regulations over the years have implemented and supplemented these statutes and also created standards  and guidelines for water quality , including design ,administration ,operation and alimony of water treatment facilities  .
Waste disposal as subject or an aspect  of water pollution was equally undiluted attention to wastes dumped into rivers and lakes .This pollution  aspect deals also with burning of wastes in open dumping such as overtly or covertly  on federal roads or inter state commerce or neighborhood .A couple of legislations guide this-Solid Waste Disposal act ; Resource Recovery Act of 1970;and materials policy act of 1970.The latter act by encouraging ,recycling of wastes and reprocessing them for re-use either for same purpose or for different purpose .The problems of solid waste reduction and disposal with this act took another dimension -entirely now a global practice even in Nigeria .
The effective regulation by these administrative agencies has taken the management of modern ecology beyond the rational perspectives of preindustrial peoples cultures .Given the inter-relationship between the pollution and non-pollution problems and the magnitude of the threat it poses , to the posterity of modern age especially ,the challenges of managing environment in view of the consequences on human existence ,there can be no better  time than at any other time in mortal history to further rationalize the impeccable incentives that the merit of optimal safeguard of environmental laws can give to a nation .As economy grows, the threat of environmental degradation looms larger from decades to decades as it were  until now .
Anderson Kumpf in the Business Law '' writing in the 70s  notes that ''it is estimated that 360 million tons  of solid wastes are generated annually  in the United States and this amount will double by 1980 ''and '' the cost of disposal is $4.5billion annually''.In the book of essays -Impact Assessment Today ,vol.2,pg.76,collated by Hank A Becker  and Alan Porter .One of the essays ''Psychosocial Impact Of Toxic Waste :An Overview '' written by Michael  R. Edelstein -PHD, he cited Toh-1981,Office OF Technology-1983 and Hewitt-1981 and noted  the following: That ''70,000 chemicals'' are used regularly in the United States with another thousand added annually in addition , to a billion pounds of pesticides ,fungicides and herbicides used ''every day'' .But the waste use ends cycle  of the problems worsened  this challenge .The United States generates between 255m to 275 millions of metric tons of hazadous wastes per annum and 90 percent of these toxins were not properly disposed .
During the period under survey by Edelstein as noted by the general accounting office over 375,000 total hazardous sites were estimated to exist and about 10,000 of these required urgent attention. Why would such hazardous sites not properly considered and well disposed in the first place given its potential threat to mankind and especially groundwater ?Not left behind ,about 400,000municipal landfills , liquid wastes impoundments and septic tanks littering endangered ecology -Robertson-1983 . Indeed , it could be a child's play when compared to the 21st century monumental challenge, given Anderson estimated growth forecast and similar studies .The surface waste impoundments’ population estimates range between  80,263 and 175,000.Moreover, 70,000 underground storage tanks estimated to be leaking according to Drayton-1984,was also expected to grow fivefold in the immediate future .Massive contamination was found in drinking water across 954 cities in national study on groundwater -some 29 percent of the total supplies  ,in addition to studies at the States 'level showing significant contamination.
The famous toxic exposure in the Love Canal  and lawsuit brought by victims of groundwater contamination in Jackson,New Jeysey provided diverse researchers including Edelstein case studies to launch their researches into this mind boggling civilization inducing and civilization threatening incidents .In particular ,Rachel Carson 's classic book ''Silent Spring ''first published in 1962 with expository analysis on  the use and abuse of DDT and pesticide was a landmark event  in this field.An unfortunate family near Toone ,Tennessee was bugged by sickness which they felt was caused by pesticide waste dumped next to their land and took the matter to court .Of course they were right ,though unlike love canal,New York , which became synonymous with problem of hazardous waste disposal, Toone  didn't but nevertheless  remarkably got one of the biggest judgments ''ever handed down in a lawsuit over damages from toxic  wastes ''.This degradation was caused by a company seventy five miles to the west ,all the way from  Memphis dumped millions of gallons of hazardous wastes according to Al Gore  ''into trenches that leaked into the well water  for miles around .''Backed with congressional actions in 1978 riding on these petitions ,Gore spearheaded a new dawn in American politics giving it a human face in this context excluding previous shenanigans  ,as movement against strip-mined top-soils and hazardous chemical wastes took another dimension entirely .
The former U.S.Vice President writing in that phenomenal book ''Earth In The Balance '' published in the 90s noted :that the chemical revolution has burst upon the world with awesome speed ''.Annual production of chemicals ballooned from 1million tons  in 1930 to 7 million tons in 1950 ,63 million metric tons in 1970,half a billion in 1990 and is projected to double in volume every 8 years .Chemical waste products were ferociously dumped into landfills ,lakes,rivers and oceans -a maddening trend that has reached a staggering proportion  with the estimated 650,000 sources of chemical and industrial wastes in the United States alone ;99 percent of which according to Environmental Protection Agency -EPA come from only two percent of sources and estimated 64 percent of these wastes were managed at only 10 regulated facilities .Chemical production generates two-thirds of these hazardous wastes and close to a quarter comes from metals and machines production .
With the jawdropping and breath taking pace of modern civilization ,more than 7million chemicals were reported to have been discovered by man-UNEP.The U.S. Federal law purportedly ban ocean dumping of municipal sewage and industrial wastes by the early 90s.But the magnitude of these wastes to be frank can make modern life unaffordable in the nearest future and even extinct in the unforeseeable posterity  .Our coastal waters ,the earthly and human treasures receive 2.3trillions of municipal effluents and 4.9billion metric tones of industrial and waste waters annually . Everywhere , rivers ,streams and ocean are polluted .From Europe such as Germany and the North Sea  for instance down to Asia from Japan at Minimita  in the  1950s where the first chemical waste incident  in Japan first took place  to the Mediterranean-the world most polluted river ,then coming down to Africa , Latin America ,the  minacious trends share similar attributes and regional ocean pollution problem has become another trademark of western civilization .
The landfills and dumps   in America alone stood at some 20,ooo landfills  in 1979 of which 15,000 were saturated and permanently closed and also prevalent in older cities like the North East for instance.It is the worst threat in American history as she struggles to find new landfills  .Mountains of garbage reached an all time high persistently breaking previous record and stampeded previous monstrous proportion .Statem island in a sampling study with its fresh kills landfills gulping as at 90s 44million pounds of garbage per annum .Of course by this fact , it is more than the highest mount or point south of Maine on the Eastern board and potential threat to aircrafts .A renowned garbologist as cited by Al Gore painting  a frightening outlook lamented this monumental sordid mess and inescapable route  that modern civilization has found itself when he testified aboutui9 the monstrous pile up of nebulous landfills which blanketed America like a chilling fog .He noted when he was a graduate student ,he was told that the Temple Of The Sun constructed in Mexico at the time of Christ was reported to be the tallest monument ever built by new world civilization and occupied 30million cubic feets  of space .But Durham road landfill ''near San Francisco  is two mounds compiled since 1977solely out of cover dirt and the municipal solid waste from three California cities .I can still remember my shock when my students calculated that each mound stood at 70million cubic feets  in volumes -a total of  nearly five Sun Temples .Landfills are clearly the largest riddens-i.e.refuse heaps and environmental threats in the history of mankind.
More than 12 million tons of municipal solid waste in 1989 were shipped across the States .By and large, there seem to be no way of disposing this voluminous waste and threat starring humanity in the face .While 90 percent of the waste is disposable and reducible by incineration, the remnant ten percent are far more poisonous than the larger volume of disposable 90 percent or before the incineration  , making the environment much more perilous as they build pace over   .
There is no gainsaying quest for extraction and oil mining activities has contributed immensely to the brazen growth of  environmental degradation of Niger Delta .Unlike different part of the world as noted above facing similar challenges  which has social safety nets , refined institutional practices and sensitive government ,the region therefore faces greater challenges with its inhabitants  as highly endangered species   .It is interesting to remember that this quest for territorial terrorism was begun from the colonial era  and even after independence ,has failed to redress itself adding comic dimension to it with imposition of the 1999 constitution on the people of Nigeria.For instance section one of the Mineral Ordnance Act 1945 promulgated by the British Colonial Office vested all mineral resources in the Crown.The ordnance as stipulated,that ''the entire property  and control of all mineral and mineral oil in,under ,or,upon any land in Nigeria ,and ,of all rivers ,streams ,and watercourse throughout Nigeria ,is and shall be vested in the crown ''By the Crown ,''we refer to British Colonial government headed by the queen.After independence ,the leaders of the three regions Ahmadu Bello,Awolowo and Azikiwe in the Northern, Western and Eastern regions agreed collectively in a manner that legalized the derivation control of 50 percent revenues of mineral and natural resources from the regions .
However ,this was to change in the 70s when two significant economical and  political developments occurred in the Gowon period -1966-1975.The three regions were divided into 12 states as oil became the mainstay of the nation .While Cross River and Akwa Ibom States came out from South Eastern region and Rivers now Rivers  and Bayelsa States ,the midwestern region was formed mainly Edo and Delta from old Western region .It may not be true to think otherwise that the indigenous colonizers -the major tribes might have used their strong positions to exploit the minorities and control their resources for national growth ,given the fact  in an attempt to spite the Ndigbos who attempted to break the nation and to unite and safeguard the nation from crash ,the Gowon regime scraped the 50 percent derivation in the 70s and led to the so called villainous Gowon Decree of 1971  which vested all natural resources in the federal government .
According to the Decree ,that''the rights of the regions ''south south'' and the minerals in their continental shelves are abrogated and ownership title to the territorial waters ,continental shelf  as well as royalties ,rents and other revenues derived from or relating to the operations ,prospecting or searching for or wining or working  of petroleum from seaward appurtenances  of the states are vested in the federal government'' under control of the ruling tribes during the period. That was the first decree that copied the colonial ordnance of 1945 heralding the era of  indigenous colonization .One quite agree with such sentiments as expressed in some quarters but it provided the resources to develop the nation and safeguard the nation from total disintegration especially  effectively controlled the outbreak  of the civil war and the nation was able to borrow no money in fighting the war-still a record across the world.To be candid ,but the point is :How many south southerners were consulted ,before the Decree 9 of 1971 or the land use act decree of 1978?Did they make inputs in the Territorial Waters Acts,Exclusive Economic zone Act and similar laws? Were the fully represented ?Was it because it was feared that the minority south south  control 90 percent of the hydrocarbon wealth in the country ? There were no referendums whatsoever that took place to protect their interests when these obnoxious laws and policies were smuggled into the 1979 and 1999 constitutions .
That is where the problem is and everywhere around the world ,people have the ability and right to protest and if this happens ,the redress can be made at the law courts as noted around the world   .Nowhere else is that possible in Nigeria and any attempt tends to worsen the plight of the poor and underprivileged .And the main vultures in the region are the multinationals going by their antecedence .We x.ray or highlight some of the challenges below and most horrible instances cited in the region, making it truly a scar in the conscience of both the foreign and local colonizers .
History cannot be forgotten about their plight and the evils of the vultures in the subversion of the course of justice in Delta.The 1983 genocide perpetrated by Shell against four Ijaw communities in Delta State :Ojogbene ,Obotobo ,Ekereme Zion and Sokebolo sued Shell for oil spillage perpetrated around Chanoni creeks in 1982 .This decimated creeks,ponds,rivers, lands and streams  as a result of the spill.
Fortunately , 4years after judgement was awarded in their favour  with damages worth of 350,000 dollars .Rather than pay damages Shell filed  its appeal  and thereafter trigger-happy  and combatant  Nigerian soldiers without impunity razed down one of the communities --Ekeremor -Zion .Moreover , instead of paying  damages and compensation worth of 40 million dollars awarded against it by the victims of Ebubu  oil spill ,it decided to appeal at a higher court . 1n year 2000 the Ogoniland at last defeated the vultures in a democratic  court of law over 1970s oil spills -a decade long struggle .

We shall not fail to remember the Umuenchem massacre of 1990-a community in which Shell had operated since late 1950s .Streams and farmlands were destroyed during the period as shell persistently averted the people's call for justice and the need for compensation and provision of basic amenities. On October 30 and 31 st ,1990 ,the Umuenchem Etche youths peacefully protested against Shell multinational 's offensive activities in their land which has been operating since late  50s ,leading to pollution of lands ,creeks , streams and farmlands .While she continually refused to pay compensation and provide basic amenities and electricity. Then somebody requested for mobile police protection of the corporation 's oil facilities over alleged plans to attack the installations. That was on August ,29,1990 when Shell's Eastern Division manager wrote and demanded such request from the Rivers State commissioner of police-a Udofia 's letter  which was entitled''Threat of Disruption of Our Operations at Umuenchem by members of Umuenchem community ''. This hysterical and exuberant letter , fired the so called kill and go police to unleashed terror later on the community in which verifiable numbers of  people were certified dead as noted by Vincent Obia and Ola Dofie reports and articles published in the local dailies .
While Obia had slightly different figures in respect of razed houses ,Ola noted about 500 houses were bulldozed in the article:'' A  voice Against Shell'' published in ThisDay -September 16,2001 .The Judicial commission of inquiry noted and reported the  incidents as  seen below-''the commission accepts that the demonstrators mounted road barricades to hold the company 's workers to ransom on that October 30 ,1990 for the company's Executive to appear and discuss with them ,but not that those demonstrators were violent and or armed''.So,even the official reports agreed that they were peaceful protest contrary misinformation been peddled around by gangsters in government .Even the commission dismissed the allegation that the police were murdered as fake -a mere fabrication of blood hungry and blood thirsty men to justify massacre and launching of genocide against the people or their fellow Nigerians. This was not the first time that Shell would be implicated by the horrendous acts of deploying local armed forces and security forces   to brutalize their fellow Nigerians .Infact ,she was not ashamed to admit that in October ,1993 ,it paid the Nigerian soldiers for the invasion of Korokoro, a community in Ogoniland  .
Besides the Okuntimo-led  internal security task force unprecedented mayhem saga,in August ,2000 ,The Nigerian navy situated at Ekunlama 2 flowstation ,manned by Shell unleashed havoc and shot down seven unarmed youths from the same Ekunlama ,Asari-Toru local government council of Rivers State.It does not make sense to murder people fighting for their right and assessing the effect of Shell oil spillages on their farmlands and waters. Uncounted deaths had been recorded in places from Uzere , Iko,Nembe, Odi and several other parts of the regtion.Now the issue of Umuechem mayhem had traumatized thousands of natives like its ilk’s.
When touched and terrorized to the bone marrow ,a destitute on the edge of the precipice and on the  brink of death several years ago once lamented ''am i cursed to come from an oil community ?''That was how Gabriel Nweke sadly narated his ordeal after over ten years of suffering psychological trauma like the rest of the villagers when his village -Umuechem was turned into the theatre of the absurd and ravaged by  theater of recklessness from the hands of insensitive Nigeria government .
Located about 20km.from Port Harcourt ,capital of Rivers State ,Umuechem is a prominent oil producing  village in the Niger Delta ,under the administrative region of Etche local government area .In October 31 ,1990 ,it captured international attention when the gangsters of the Nigerian mobile force visited the village with horror ,mass maiming ,mass raping ,mass killings and mass destruction ,shortly after the local inhabitants protested against inhuman treatments from the multinational Shell and its exploration facility in the community .At the end of that attack ,over 80 people according official reports were murdered and this included the paramount chief of Agwuru-Asa Clan .Police grenades devastated everywhere with the relentless ferocity of armored tanks and firing of automatic riffles which led to destruction of  495 houses according to  official reports ,in which virtually all standing structures were bulldozed .
Infact ,it was reported according to local sources and New York based NGO, Human Right Watch that Umuechem massacre was episode of genocide  in the Niger Delta ,to capture international attention involving a multinational accused of  crime against humanity , perpetrated through nebulous oil company activities haunted with serious loss of life in the region.
On that fateful day of 1990 ,Nweke could still recount the ordeal as reported by Vincent Obia in Daily Independent several years ago,as he relished the horror and psychological trauma of been a Niger Deltan.''I lost four of my brothers to the police brutality of October 31,1990 as well as our house and all other properties''They were neglected for years in such incidence and if any compensation was made ,it was just a mere pittance when compared to the staggering loss of life and properties .In the same year ,when the movement for the survival of the Ogoni people was launched to protest against injustice of the Nigerian nation and multinationals ,the Paul Okuntimo led -Ogon gangsters retaliated  and supervised the series of repression launched against the community with extrajudicial killings ;just because the people as Obia put it  decided '' to non-violently ''protest and ''voice the people's agitations against environmental rights denials and press for reparation and local autonomy within the Nigerian nation.  In 1991 , another genocide occurred in Gbaran,another comunity in the region ravaged by the gangsters  from the same Nigerian mobile police force .At the end of the operation 30 people were shot ,killed and several others injured and ''severely manhandled''.
The internal security task force led by Paul Okuntimo charged 9 key members of Ogoni or MOSOP with civil disturbances before a magistrate court ..They were accused of allegedly masterminding the murder of their own kinsmen before Ogoni civil Disturbances tribunal and later accused members including ken Saro Wiwa -a renowned poet were sentenced to death by hanging in November 10,1995 ,while their lead counsel Gani Fawehinmi was threatened to drop or withdraw from the trial following series of harassment and intimidation against his person by state security agents .The case of Odi saga in Bayelsa ,1999  was also largely misconstrued .to be continued