ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION AND OIL SPILLAGES: AN INDICTMENT TO HUMAN RIGHT AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Since the beginning of civilization, man has always been motivated by the need to make progress and better the lives of fellow mankind by exploring the natural environment. It is indisputable that the natural environment before the advent of environmental degradation, created unlimited opportunities for development and economic sufficiency of the inhabitants or the populace, but with the advent of environmental degradation, the inhabitants have been denied these opportunities and made to languish in abject poverty.
In recognition of the dangers posed by environmental degradation , the international community and the Nigerian government have put in place various laws to combat environmental degradation, while the various environmental laws in Nigeria and that of the international community (international legal instrument) in combating environmental degradations intended to yield encouraging result by enhancing environmental sustainability. The recalcitrant attitude of those involved in environmental degradation has continued to attenuate environmental laws with the government and its agency indirectly collaborating in the act of flouting environmental laws.
Unfortunately, the existing law legal mechanism in place have done little or nothing to eradicate this menace of environmental degradation. Environmental degradation continues to evolve everyday and everywhere with no end in sight of how this crime can be checked.
Thus this thesis intends to appraise how environmental degradation constitutes an indictment to human right and environmental laws. It also aims to serve as a theoretical framework for the review and harmonization of the relevant municipal and legal instruments. Similarly international agency/corporation in combating environmental degradation will not be left out.
Hence, it is imperative to give a brief description or definition of environmental degradation.
1.1 Environmental Degradation
Before environmental degradation is considered we must first of all know what is environment or what constitutes the environment.
Environment is the natural world in which people, animals and plants live. The Black’s Law Dictionary also defines it as the totality of physical, economic, cultural, aesthetic and social circumstances and factors which surround and affect the desirability of value of property and which also affect the quality of life of people’s lives. Under the Nigeria law, “environment” includes water, air, land and all plants and human beings or animals living therein and the inter-relationship which exist among these or any of them. Therefore Environmental Degradation is the deterioration of the environment