An Appraisal of Selected Legal Frameworks for the Management of Oil Spillage in Nigeria

Publication Information

Journal Title: Commonwealth Law Review Journal
Author(s): Ufuoma Veronica Awhefeada & Ogheneosunme Eda
Published On: 15/03/2023
Volume: 9
First Page: 59
Last Page: 84
ISSN: 2581-3382
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher


Cite this Article

Ufuoma Veronica Awhefeada & Ogheneosunme Eda, An Appraisal of Selected Legal Frameworks for the Management of Oil Spillage in Nigeria, Volume 9, Commonwealth Law Review Journal, 59-84, Published on 15/03/2023, Available at


The Niger Delta region is one of the major regions in Nigeria where the oil spillage is prevalent. Over the years, several laws have been passed with a view to abating the menace. Despite the existence of these enactments, the problem of oil spillage persists. This paper examines selected legal legislations pertaining to the regulation, control and management of the Nigerian oil industry with a view to identifying inherent gaps for possible amendment and reform. Using the doctrinal method of research, this piece identifies areas in the relevant laws that need to be modified to effectively curb the problem of oil spillage in the Niger Delta region. It is shown that the inability of the relevant laws to abate the problem of oil spillage in Nigeria is a direct consequence of the gaps in the laws which fails take into consideration current realities in terms of imposition of adequate/stiffer penalties for environmental crimes particularly those perpetuated by corporate bodies. To this end, the need to overhaul the relevant laws and bring it up to speed with contemporary challenges is a necessary condition to ensuring that the problem of oil spillage becomes a thing of the past. Among other suggestions therefore, this contribution calls for the amendment of Section 102 of the Petroleum Industry Act to make the provision of an environmental management plan a mandatory requirement for the grant of a license or lease. It is contended also, that the punishment section of the Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions) Act should be more specific with respect to the particular punishment to be meted on violators. The exclusion of the oil and gas sector by Sections 7 and 8 of the National Environmental Standards Regulation Enforcement Agency Act works a great disservice to the overall utility of the Act and should forthwith be amended to cover these critical sectors which are a major contributor to the menace of oil spillage.

Keywords: Oil Spillage, Nigerian Oil Industry, Environmental Laws, Punishment

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