Enviromental Problems in Nigeria: A Discource


Nigeria is a surface of 983,213 square kilometers, of which 773,783 sq km are located in the savanna zones. 75,707 sq kilometers are located in areas that are derived from savanna and the remaining 133,717 square km are located in forests. Nigerian population is greater than 150 million, resulting in an average density of over 150 people per square kilometers. While this number may differ between regions however, it is evident that Nigeria is currently experiencing a high density of population. The effects of this include urbanization, deforestation desertification, overpopulation, and various forms of pollution. These effects have both positive and negative effects to the environment. The negative effects of human interaction with the natural environment that are the focus of this study.

Unskillful usage of nature because of ignorance of the environment, poverty, overpopulation, and greed, among others, has led to the degrading of the natural environment. The consequences (degradation) are triggered when Nigerians try to adapt their seemingly endless needs and demands for food, shelter and recreation, infrastructure facilities and more to the resources of land and other that are available to them. This study explores the causes of environmental issues in Nigeria.

Conceptual Framework

The notion of environment is viewed from a variety of perspectives and defined in a variety of ways. The diversity of definitions and concepts of the concept of environment is closely tied to the reality that the study of environment is multidisciplinary which is why each discipline has a tendency to come up with and adopt a definition(s) according to the area of study. The variety of concepts, definitions and use of the term across different disciplines.The variety of usage and definition of environment has led to various adjectival terms that include: social environment, molar environmental, physical environment, home environment the psychological environment, and the behavioral geographic environmental.

The term “environment” is an ambiguous word that is both difficult to define and define its meaning as it can be applied to everything from the biosphere, down to the environment of the smallest animal or organism. The broad meaning of the dictionary definitions of the word ‘environment include the entire range of economic, physical, aesthetic, cultural, and social conditions and elements that influence the value and worth of property, or that influences the quality of people’s lives and the conditions in the conditions in which a person or object develops or lives and the subtotal of factors that affect and influence the growth of life or the character. It is this broad definition that the term ‘environment’ encompasses all that is within and around man which could have an effect on or be influenced by man. In the sense of human environment in contrast to physical surroundings. The broad meaning encompasses the historical, cultural, technological and natural as well as economic and influence, and political environments within the notion of the environment.

In the same way, the Environmental Impact Assessment Decree of Nigeria defines the term “environment to include: the following:) water, land and air, which includes every layer of atmosphere and b) the organic matter and all inorganic material as well as living organisms, and c) the interconnected natural systems which include the components mentioned by the paragraphs (a) (a) and (b)

Environmental Law

Environmental Law in Nigeria is an array of regulations and rules that are designed to affect the protection of the environment from pollution as well as the wasteful destruction of natural resources, and to ensure sustainable development. Additionally, the structure of the judiciary system (with the emphasis on backward-looking and adversarial two-party litigation , and its procedural rules that are not accessible to those who wish to bring environmental lawsuits and that do not give the public interest a distinct representation) is not ideally suited to the consideration of environmental disputesbecause they are based on multiple causes, result in complex scientific arguments, require an intricate interplay of the private, public and criminal law; and demand the balance of complex issues of policy or political. One of the characteristics of the law and policies for environmental protection is the fact that it changes in constant reflection of the different preferences and values we assign to different aspects of environmental concerns. In recent times, as environmental concerns have become more important and importance, we have witnessed an unprecedented speed of changes. In a field like this, where actions need to be planned long in advance It is essential to be aware of what is likely to occur in the near future and also what the law is at the moment. In this way, environmental law is a forward-looking law.

Environmental problems are harmful aspects of human activities on the biophysical ecosystem. Environmentalalism, a political and environmental movement that began during the 60s tackles environmental issues through education, advocacy and activism. It also addresses the current issues that the environment faces.

Environmental Policy

A policy on the environment can be a tool of power to address perceived issues within the environmental realm. The process of drafting this policy is a source of interest for many people at various levels of government- national, international and local. To comprehend the concept of environmental policy, understanding of formulation, implementation and the actors involved is an essential element. Environmental Policy can be defined further as a set of actions that are followed by organizations with the aim of achieving a goal. According to this definition, environmental policy is a strategy to improve and enhance the environmental quality and focuses on the balance between social and economic issues. To achieve the goal of social and economic balance the interests of many different actors are represented. These actors can be external or internal- each pushing its own interests without considering the implications for the other. The policy is based on the bureaucratic and political settings and must be a part of political processes. major environmental Problems in Nigeria

i. Urbanization

Urbanization is a result of high population growth and urban-rural migration. The urbanization process in Nigeria is characterised by urban areas that are slums, with severe environmental effects. The issue is described as a serious issue and illustrates the inability of development strategies to keep up with the population’s growth. The issue of disposing of refuse and savages is extremely serious due to the speedy growth of non-biodegradable substances like plastics.

ii. Overpopulation

Population is the most significant factor in the environmental issues. Overpopulation can cause stress to the environment. Environmental issues like erosion, overpopulation, degradation desertification, etc. result from man’s misuse of the environment’s resources. In the past, Nigerians regard their large population as a sign of power, grandeur and status and oppose efforts to decrease it dramatically.

iii. Deforestation

Forests cover large areas of forest land and are evident in areas with sub-equatorial and monsoon forms of climates. They are a refuge for endangered and rare animals. Forests are storm breakers and protect towns and villages from being destroyed. They supply useful goods like wood and char-coal to fuel, fiber to study and textiles medicines made from the leaves and back of certain plants and breeding grounds to animals, check erosion, and provide food and building materials.

iv. Desertification

The deserts are barren, with no trees and water, and are often covered in sand, such as the Sahara desert that spread across the Africa continent. The process of desertification involves the expansion of deserts on the land that was previously fertile. The process of desertification may be triggered through natural processes or the actions of humans. Natural disasters like drought , sand deposits caused by wind are the main elements in the process of desertification. The desertification process is more prominent in the northern region of the country, where the Saharah desert is eating deep into the fertile soil of earlier.

v. Pollution

Environmental pollution is classified into three categories. They are atmospheric or air pollution, water or aquatic pollution, and land or surface pollution of the surface. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) describes air pollution as being limited to situations where the atmosphere around us contains substances in high concentrations that can be harmful to humans and the environment. Human activities on earth’s surface have significantly deteriorated the quality of the atmosphere below. The development and growth of urbanization and industries have contributed significantly to the excessive carbon monoxide generated by combustion and various human-related activities.

For more detail please visit:-











vi. Erosion and Flooding

The majority of Nigeria’s coastline is susceptible to coastal erosion. This is a major environmental concern as a significant portion of Nigeria’s population as well as economic activities are situated within this coastal area. Nigeria is home to an estimated population of more than 25 million living in its coastal regions, with activities that include exploration of oil and gas as well as fishing, agriculture aquaculture, shipping tourism, and industries. More than fifty sites that are highly vulnerable have been discovered on the Nigerian coastline , and all eight states along the coast are affected by erosion issues.

vii. Sanitation

Sanitary facilities such as sewers, sanitation facilities and toilets for homes are known to be terribly inadequate within Nigeria and have gotten worse in recent years because of the increasing urbanization rates in the country. In fact, the disposal of waste is possibly the most significant environmental issue in Nigerian cities. The growing accumulation of garbage in urban areas is a breeding ground for a variety of diseases.

Sources and effects on Environmental Problems within Nigeria

The most prevalent environmental issues that this study has identified to be a result of human activities that pose a serious threats to sustainable development in Nigeria are as follows:

The slums as well as Squatter Developments: Rapid urbanization as a result of urban-rural migration and natural population growth insufficient housing and infrastructure; legal dualalism in the administration of land and its control. Insufficient monitoring of physical development in urban areas leads to rapid degradation of the physical environment, and provides the perfect breeding ground for prostitutes, criminals, and social miscreants. They are a slap to the dignity of human beings, with negative health effects on the residents and therefore undermine the objective of sustainability for the environment.

Urban Sprawl: Lack of updated master plans; incoordination of urban sprawl; degrading of cities’ inner areas land speculation, and a rapidly increasing urban population. Depletion of open space and green spaces which results in loss of biodiversity as well as air pollution and congestion in traffic due to the increasing usage of private vehicles. There is an problem of land use that is not compatible because of lack of planning and unplanned developments. Pollution (land and air water) is the result of inefficient waste management systems, the emissions of automobiles industrial plants, generators of power and gas flaring can pose health hazards to human as well as aquatic and terrestrial life. Land pollution caused by the indiscriminate removal of solid wastes creates fertile soils; burning of refuse and bush; extraction of liquid and solid minerals processes and Agrochemicals.

A weak regulatory and institutional framework to enforce appropriate legislation for the transmission of infectious diseases, and air pollution causes acid rains that destroy structures and infrastructure. The spillage of oil poses a risk to the existence of communities that produce oil. Air pollution is a major contributor to global warming through the depletion of the ozone layer. Urban flooding is caused by the absence of a reliable storm water drainage system and ocean surge as a result of rising sea levels and the extensive use of hard landscape elements, reclamation of swamps and natural stormwater swales to construct buildings. Physical development of natural floodplains and non respect for the physical development rules cause flooding in cities with low elevations such as Lagos as well as Port Harcourt Destruction of human homes, lives and sources of livelihood , as and public infrastructures, which results in economic losses. The destruction of animals and plants which leads to the destabilization of the ecosystem, which comes with negative effects. Erosion Discriminate destruction of vegetation to make fuel and construction materials. Construction, construction of infrastructure mining, agriculture and construction Risk to human life as well as livelihoods, infrastructure, as well as the loss of land and a decrease in biodiversity.

The role in Environmental Law in Regulating Land Use and Protection of the Environment in Nigeria

To study the role played by environmental law in the regulation of the use of land and protecting the environment in Nigeria the country, this section of the paper aims to:

(1) determine the land use issues in Nigeria which can lead to degradation of the land (2) identify land use issues in Nigeria that lead to land degradation

(2) Examine the key environmental laws that aim to regulate the use of land to safeguard the environment from overuse. The most important environmental legislation relates to the regulation of land usage and protection of the environment

The right to enjoy and use the land specifically, and private property generally, is protected by the laws of Nigeria however, it is common knowledge that these rights are not in absolute terms. They must be controlled to ensure the entire population and to protect the rights of other people in the society. To reduce and manage the above-mentioned issues of land use and its negative impacts on the land resources, Nigerian government has implemented various legislative measures locally. One of them are land Use Act. land Use Act, the goals of which, among other things, is to ensure that there is a sustainable environment and land development, and that the aesthetic and ecological values of the country are protected and improved.

Because the Land Use Act deals primarily with the acquisition and use of land, when it comes to achieving these goals, the actions of a person, a public or private organization, whether private or public, are likely to cause environmental issues. For instance, if permission was granted for land to be used for mining purposes or industrial use, or for a town or country planning goal or any other public or commercial project or for any other purpose environmental issues are likely likely to arise in the enjoyment of land use for the activities or for any other purpose.

In essence, it is true that the Land Use Act is not solely an Act to protect the environment. But, it is among the considerations that a person who holds a certificate of occupancy must be aware of, even though it is not explicitly stated in any of the laws in the Act. When it is the case that this Act is read with no such implications, the outcome is likely to be ridiculous and unsustainable for the environment. Policies to address environmental Problems in Nigeria

Due to the environmental issues that were aplenty in Nigeria legislation and laws related to protection of the environment were enacted. The laws and acts were enacted to address specific issues. They were confined in the scope of their application and were spatially limited. However, Decree No 58 of 1988 which was amended through Decree 59 of 1992, created FEPA, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency FEPA (Now Ministry of Environment) It empowers the ministry to take control of every aspect of the Nigerian environment resources, resource exploitation, and management. However, the results achieved by the Ministry is not something to be proud of. The problems of desertification, urbanization and deforestation remained because of the Top-down strategy, inconsistent government policies, the neglect of indigenous knowledge, and the use of ineffective technology, a sectoral approach, inadequate funding and a lack of awareness.


Nigeria is a land mass of 983,213 square kilometers which is inhabited by over 167 million inhabitants. The interactions of the millions of Nigerians with their surroundings has left an permanent marks upon the land. The efforts of these Nigerians to adapt their seemingly endless needs and need for shelter, food and recreation facilities, as well as infrastructure to name some have led to urbanization, desertification, deforestation and overpopulation, as well as various forms of pollution. While these land-use practices aid in the overall growth of the country but they also have negative environmental impacts.


This research has allowed to investigate the causes of environmental issues in Nigeria. The study also examines relevant laws and legislations pertaining to the environment. In the interest of overcoming the obstacles that are recurrent of environmental issues and to ensure the effective application of environmental laws, the following suggestions have been given:

1. The environmental issues that are currently in the news should be examined and addressed because they are outdated. In the process of reviewing the participation of the public and consultation must be encouraged and all necessary stakeholders should be permitted to be involved. In this participatory process , all stakeholder interests are considered and a legally binding policy tool is being developed.

2. The government must increase the budgetary allocations to environmental institutions and their programs. A sufficient amount of funding will help in the development of capacity for the people who work in the institutions for environmental protection through training on both a local level as well as international levels. This will expose the employees of the institutions to the most recent information on environmental governance as well as diplomacy.

3. The Nigerian government must clearly delegate the responsibility for environmental issues with the various institutions involved. Each institution should know its own authority and responsibility and the areas it shouldn’t go. This will solve the issue of overlapping responsibility and power conflicts among institutions.

4. The government should promote regular reports and audits on the condition of the Nigerian environment. These reports and audits must be accessible to the general public through the internet as well as books available in the library of the public.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.