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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

13 - Environmental Law and Sustainable Land Use in Nigeria



All life depends on land, for people construct homes on land, food is cultivated on land, and when people ultimately die their remains are committed to land. Usually, life's basic needs are expressed to be food, clothing, and shelter, but it is true to assert that there is only one essential or basic need of life and that is land because food, clothing, and shelter are entirely derived from land.

In Nigeria, there are provisions in our Laws for the protection of the rights in property (land inclusive) and the right to use and enjoy such. In recent years there have been efforts to control the use of land in particular, and property in general, due to the realization of the need to protect the environment, especially land, from degradation or pollution.

It is against this background that this chapter aims at realizing the objectives of providing conceptual clarification of key terms such as environment, environmental law, land, sustainable land use, and land pollution and examining the role of environmental law in regulating land use and environmental protection in Nigeria.



The word environment encompasses anything from the whole biosphere to the habitat of the smallest creature or organism.

In the broad sense, dictionary definitions of the term environment range from “the totality of physical, economic, cultural, aesthetic, and social circumstances and factors which surround and affect the desirability and value of property or which also affects the quality of people's lives,” to “the conditions under which any person or thing lives or is developed; the subtotal of influences which modify and determine the development of life or character.”

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