International Journal of Civil Law and Legal Research
2021, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Part A
An examination of environmental federalism under the 1999 constitution
Author(s): Olugbenga Oke-Samuel
Abstract: The Nigerian federal structure seems skewed against both the state and local governments. The federal government in Nigeria wields greater powers on crucial constitutional issues. Both the state and local governments are completely excluded on any matter specified in the Exclusive Legislative List. The sub-units of government appear completely weak in all fundamental matters enshrined in the Exclusive Legislative list under the 1999 constitution. The dominance of the Federal Government on divergent constitutional issues seems have also snowballed into environmental matters in Nigeria. Although there are different arguments for and against the supremacy of the federal government on environmental legislation, however this writer opines that decentralization of powers in respect of environmental matter is most ideal to enthrone environmental federalism in Nigeria. This paper examines the practicability of environmental federalism under the 1999 Constitution. The doctrinal approach is adopted in this work. Primary and secondary materials were analysed. The paper concludes that there is a serious structural imbalance of environmental federalism under the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) (as amended). Nigerian federalism does not reflect a true federal state. In fact, the 1999 CFRN (as amended) can be likened to a unitary constitution masquerading itself as a federal constitution. It is doubtful if environmental federalism can be attained under the present 1999 CFRN (as amended).