Evaluating environmental justice in Nigeria: procedural justice in the environmental impact assessment process


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Obaji, Synda (2020). Evaluating environmental justice in Nigeria: procedural justice in the environmental impact assessment process. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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It is now being widely acknowledged that environmental impact assessment is a vital instrument for the realisation of the goals of environmental justice. Achieving environmental justice through environmental impact assessments requires governments, regulators, non-governmental organisations, members of the public etc. to advance environmental sustainability and good governance, by resisting damaging development projects. This places a legal and moral obligation on these stakeholders, to safeguard the environment from exploitation and improve its components. Hence, the need for people to have access to environmental information, participate in decision-making processes, and have access to justice. In recognition of the role of procedural justice to promoting distributive fairness and enhancing legitimacy therefore, the key question this thesis seeks to address is, how effectively Nigeria’s environmental impact assessment law and practice advances procedural environmental justice.

In determining whether there is regard for matters of procedure in Nigeria’s EIA process, a framework for procedural environmental justice —based on the Aarhus Convention, the literature and case law— was developed, and used to evaluate the effectiveness of access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in Nigeria’s EIA law. Through a documentary analysis of the EIA reports and administrative records of 8 development projects conducted in Nigeria, the framework was also used to assess whether procedural justice rights are recognised in the EIA process. Further, this work explores broader issues of corruption, gender inequality, cultural and institutional biases etc. which have the capacity to affect the availability of procedural justice rights.

The central argument of this thesis is that procedural justice in the environmental impact assessment process cannot be fully realised through law and legal instruments alone, without political will in governance and a corresponding break from cultures of exclusion and misrecognition foisted in part, by the legacies of colonialism. Ultimately, in the light of the evidence in the literature, case law and the EIA reports reviewed, this thesis concludes that despite attempts to recognise procedural justice rights in Nigeria’s EIA legislation, procedural justice as a prerequisite to environmental justice and sustainable environmental management, has not been fully realised in Nigeria’s environmental impact assessment process.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11064


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