University of Leicester
2013stewartnfphd.pdf (1.85 MB)

Constitutionalizing an Eco-Anthropocentric Ethic in Nigeria: Its Implications for Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta Region

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posted on 2013-06-28, 14:03 authored by Ngozi Finette Stewart
This thesis argues that an effective way to curb the significant problem of environmental degradation in Nigeria‘s Niger Delta region and preserve its environment for posterity is by changing the ethic underlying environmental protection laws in Nigeria to a less anthropocentric one. The wanton degradation has several causes including an overly anthropocentric view of law, life and the natural world. The Nigerian environmental legal order is flawed in the following ways: non-justiciability of Constitutional provisions on environmental matters; insufficient deterrence of some sanctions or inadequate enforcement of others; inadequate compensation; insufficient use of injunctive relief; and difficulty of victims of environmental degradation in the region to be availed by relevant foreign regimes due to lack of financial resources, ignorance, poor education, insufficiency of legal and scientific resources and inadequate action by Government law officers. The thesis explores some improvements that have been suggested in existing literature which should be adopted to make the extant system work better. It however argues that the impact of such reforms would be enhanced if the ethic underlying the Nigerian environmental protection laws is changed to a less anthropocentric one; and one way of doing so is to constitutionalize nature‘s right to exist for posterity. This right will be enforceable by individuals, Non-Governmental Organisations and Environmental Protection Agencies, any or all of whom will act as a ‘guardian’ for nature in a specialist environmental court. This is the ‘new’ contribution of this thesis as regards Nigeria. This proposal will however not be a ‘magic bullet’ but can help promote social change so long as there is genuine involvement of all categories of stakeholders - government and non-governmental institutions, communities and private sector organizations.



Bonner, David

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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