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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

ABSTRACT

This study examined the role of enforcement in the promotion of compliance to environmental standards in Ibadan Metropolis. It also identified various enforcement actions of government and

investigated the various environmental management tools that promote compliance. This was with the

view to identifying the challenges and prospect of enforcement of environmental laws in Ibadan

metropolis providing a platform for rapid generation of data for environment related decision making

and promoting compliance to environmental standards in Ibadan metropolis. This research focused on

the major regulatory authorities overseeing environmental compliance and monitoring in Ibadan. The

primary source of data involves the conduct of interview with regulatory bodies in Ibadan Metropolis

and the use of properly structured questionnaire. A total of 200 questionnaires were administered to

workers of four enforcement agencies in the study area. The data collected from the field was

analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The result of the analysis showed that 52% of the

respondents  indicated that  enforcement promotes compliance to environmental laws, 46% of the

respondent stated otherwise that enforcement do not promote compliance to environmental laws while

2% of the respondents do not know the effects of enforcement to compliance promotion. 

Environmental Management Plan (38%),  relevant regulations (34%),  environmental impact

assessment (16%), and environmental audit (12%) were indicated as environmental managment tools

used in Ibadan. 33% of respondents stated that environmental management tools are moderately

enforced, 30% said they were very effective, 15% said they were not effective, 8% said they don’t

know, while 6% were indifferent. Also 38% of respondent agreed that enforcement efforts of

government were well executed, 26% agreed that it was moderately executed, 22% were undecided.

36% of the respondents agreed that lack of awareness has been hindering the enforcement of statutory

environmental legislation, 26% said it was lack of training, 20% said it was inadequate funding, while

the remaining percentage 18% said it was poor understanding of legislation. The research concluded

that diligent enforcement of environmental laws and relevant management tools promotes compliance

to environmental laws and regulations.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of study

Issuesof the environment are dealt with under numerous local, state, federal and international laws,

regulations, guidelines and policies, depending upon the type of legislation and the stage it is at its

lifecycle (Adegoroyo, 1995). Moreover, the scope of legislation relating to environment has expanded

to take into account different purposes. The last three decades have seen the emergence of

environmental regulation as a major activity of governments in Nigeria (Adelegan, 2006). As the

stringency of those regulations increased so too have the incentive for non-compliance and the need to

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enforce (Agbonifo, 2002). Complexities of definition and purpose make it difficult to provide a single,

comprehensive summary of environmental legislation. Nonetheless, there is some continuity and

commonality across specific spheres. For example, Bricknell (2010: 4) notes that while a uniform

definition presently remains elusive and the application of laws against environmentally harmful

practices varies between (and within) nations, there is unanimity in the types of acts commonly

recognized as environmental crimes. Among these crimes is the illegal discharge, dumping and

transport of, or trade in, hazardous and other regulated waste (Rob & Diane, 2012).  As with most

transnational crimes, there are various levels of regulation and legal convention in relation to

environmental crime. In terms of the question of who does what, a succinct answer is that:  

Under the Nigerian constitution, environmental issues are placed on the concurrent list, and

delineation of environmental responsibilities, waste management is the primary responsibility of the

states and local governments which regulate and manage waste in accordance with their respective

legislation, edicts and bye-laws. The Nigerian Government has responsibility for national legislation,

strategies and policy frameworks for Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Auditing,

Environmental Management Systems, waste, including measures that give effect to obligations under

international agreements (National Policy on Environment 2010). Local governments have

responsibility for waste management within their local areas as laid down by the regulatory

framework of each state. Some local governments have developed their own strategies and regulations

on waste management, and programs to implement local sustainability and environment outcomes

(Ebomhe, 2012, Adibe and Essagha, 1999, Ola and Tonwe, 2003).

It is rare that the state uses coercion solely or even as the key lever of compliance to environmental

laws. Rather, a wide variety of measures are used, one of which is enforcement of applicable laws to

promote compliance frequently in conjunction with each other, as a means to deal with environmental

harm (Lawrence and Caroline, 2005). Likewise, a range of agencies is assigned the task of ensuring

compliance and enforcing the law vis-à-vis environmental protection (Benebo, 2008).

The regulatory landscape is made up of many different stakeholders and participants. These include,

for example, businesses, employees, government agencies, communities, shareholders,

environmentalists, regulators, the media, trade customers, financial institutions, consumers and the list

goes on (Aksel, 2013). The role and influence of various people and agencies is shaped by factors

such as resources, training, information, skill, expertise and legislation. In the specific area of

environmental regulation, the general trend has been away from direct governmental regulation and

toward softer regulatory approaches. Measures include Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)

and Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) through to voluntary adoption of good

environmental practices by the regulated communities. Generally speaking, systems of regulation

range from on the one hand “command and control” regimes through to on the other hand systems

based upon voluntary compliance by companies.

Issues of compliance and enforcement are at the heart of the regulatory project. The intent of

legislation and regulation is to shape behaviour in particular directions. When this does not occur, it

sometimes signals a failure in regulatory practices. Compliance means the state of conformity with the

law. The mandate of most environmental protection agencies is not only to enforce compliance

through use of criminal prosecutions, but to forge strategic alliances and working partnerships with

industries, local governments and communities in support of environmental objectives (Benebo,

2008). It is the anticipation of enforcement action that confers the ability to deter (Robinson, 2003:

11). Bearing these sentiments in mind, it is instructive to assess the challenges and prospects of

enforcement of environmental legislations in Ibadan Metropolis Oyo State for it is obvious that

enforcement issues matter in designing and appraising any regulatory regime.  

Improving compliance with environmental regulation and enhancing results has been a longstanding

theme in the regulatory debate. The battle has been primarily waged within the arena of

environmental agencies that engage in daily struggles to achieve substantial environmental outcomes

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and reduce non-compliance with the law. These agencies seek to promote compliance in a deliberate

and proactive manner. In essence, theories of responsive regulation have in common the general

assertion that regulators need to be acutely aware of the consequences of their actions and need to

modify their actions accordingly (Farber 1993-1994; Baldwin & Black 2008). This awareness is

rooted in the simple notion of the need to look backwards before moving forward. In other words

what is required of regulators is a reflexive investigation of past achievements, aimed at modifying

future action (Orr and Oren, 2016). How this investigation should be conducted has remained at times

a vague notion.

Responsive regulation has the potential to bridge the gap between environmental policy and

implementation. Key to realizing this promise is improved information and reflexive analysis of

regulatory performance (Thornton et.al. 2008). Environmental compliance and enforcement indicators

are an index which serves as a regulatory scoreboard which can set the boundaries of a rational

reflexive process and provide necessary information to regulators and the public (INECE, 1992). This

research proposes a framework for dealing with the difficulties associated with enforcement and

compliance to environmental regulations. It will involve selecting and articulating data components

that can help in identifying sources of non-compliance, methods for addressing these sources,

monitoring implementation of new relevant legislations and identifying best enforcement strategies to

boost compliance to environmental laws.  

The weak enforcement of Nigerian environmental laws is a major cause of non compliance by the

regulated communities (Benebo, 2008, INECE, 1992,  Wasserman, 1993). The federal, state and

local government are empowered by the constitution to legislate on environmental matters; they all

have respective authority to enact environmental laws, regulations and rules. The  result of this

arrangement is that it has never been clear as to what level of inter-governmental relationship exist in

environmental matters. The loopholes existing in the compliance mechanism to environmental law on

one side shows the not serious enough attitude of environmental management for some

administrations, they have not realized the importance of a sound system of environmental laws and

the need for enforcement (Konisky, 2008). 

On another side, the lack of awareness on the side of the regulated communities on existing

environmental legislations and even deliberate neglect of environmental interests leaves little to be

desired (Lawrence and Caroline, 2005). This obviously does not conform to the sustainable

development principle and lead to neglects and abuse of environmental obligations.  As a result,

conflicts and compromises of different interests in the implementation process occur, other economic

benefits by negotiation with environmental officials, and bribery to officials may happen. If the public

interests in terms of ecosystem services of provisioning, regulating and supporting different human

and environmental functions as well as health, material basis of development, and recreational

benefits deriving from environment are not properly reflected in the environmental law, citizens may

object to the pollution and harm on human and the environment as a result of non enforcement of laws

and consequently non compliance. The neglect of environmental interest may bring short-term

economic benefits, nevertheless, much more economic loss may result from environmental accidents,

and public trust on government will also suffer. Environmental departments also have the lack of resources problem which includes the tight financial budget, insufficient technical support as well as inadequate and properly trained personnel. 

 A significant issue affecting regulation enforcement in Nigeria is the lack of a National database on environmental quality (Solomon et al.,  1995).  The weakness in the institutional set up of environmental regulations leads to corruption and special interest groups often try to use the regulatory process to advance their own economic position (Wasserman, 1993).Some other cases, “revenue-driven” economic interest may intervene in the political process to structure regulation in ways that deliver benefit to them. For example, most state environmental and public health legislations are more revenue driven than regulating pollution. For example, in Ibadan Municipality of Oyo state, where there is a large concentration of industries in the industrial estates of Oluyole, GSJ: Volume 8, Issue 7, July 2020 ISSN 2320-91861743GSJ© 2020 www.globalscientificjournal.com

Lagelu, Olubadan, Eleyele and other locations like Idiayunre, the State Ministry of  Environment allows the industries to pollute once they pay the polluter fees and other administrative charges.

1.2 Effectiveness of Environmental Enforcement and Compliance

Table 2 shows that most of the respondents (52%) indicated that enforcement promotes compliance to environmental laws, 46% of the respondent indicated that enforcement do not promote compliance to environmental laws  while 2% of the respondents do not  know the effects of enforcement on compliance promotion.

Table 3 shows that most of the respondents (38%) indicated that environmental management plan is

one of the environmental managment tools used in Ibadan, (34%) indicated that relevant regulations

are used to enforce compliance, (16%) indicated environmental impact assessment as a tool to manage

the environment while 12% of the respondents indicated environmental audit process.

Table 3: What is the various environmental management tools used in Ibadan Metropolis?

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

On the level of enforcement and effectiveness of the tools for environmental management, the

responses were as given in table 4, the result of the analysis showed that 33% of respondents 

indicated that environmental management tools are moderately enforced, 30% indicated they are very

effective, (15%) indicated they are not effective, 8% of respondents indicated they don’t know of their

effectiveness or otherwise, while 6% gave other reasons such as lack of medium for measurements of

the level of effectiveness of management tools, inconsistencies in use of management tools and non

enforceability of tools in most cases.

Table 4: How effective are the environmental management tools enforced?

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Not effective

30

15.0

15.0

15.0

Very poor

16

8.0

8.0

23.0

Moderately effective

66

33.0

33.0

56.0

Very effective

I don’t know

Others

60

16

12

30.0

8.00

6.00

30.0

8.00

6.00

86.0

94.0

100.0

Total

200

100.0

100.0

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Table 5 shows the result of the analysis on level of execution of relevant environmental management

tools, a larger percentage of the respondents 38% indicated that enforcement efforts of government

are well executed, 26% indicated that they are moderately executed, and 22% were undecided.

Table 5: Level of Implementation of relevant environmental management tools by government?

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

moderately executed

52

26.0

26.0

26.0

poorly executed

28

14.0

14.0

40.0

well executed

76

38.0

38.0

78.0

I don’t know

Others

22

0

22.0

0.0

22.0

100.0

Total

200

100.0

100.0

Table 6 shows the result of the analysis on performance of enforcement agencies, 40% of the

respondents indicated that enforcement agencies are doing good, 25.5% indicated that they are doing

very good, 24.5% indicated that they are doing fairly, while 7.0& indicated that they are poor in

performance and 2% noted they are doing very poor.

Table 6: How would you evaluate the performance of enforcement agencies?

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Poor

14

7.0

7.0

7.0

Fair

49

24.5

2.0

9.0

Very good

51

25.5

25.5

34.5

Good

Very Poor

80

4

40.0

2.0

40.0

24.5

74.5

100

Total

200

100.0

100.0

Respondents were asked about the problems hindering enforcement actions of relevant agencies and

the result of the analysis is as presented in Table 7 below. 36% of the respondents indicated that lack

of awareness of the existence of laws has been hindering the enforcement of statutory environmental

legislations, 26% indicated lack of relevant trainings of persons needed to enforce the laws, 20%

indicated inadequate funding of relevant agencies of government charged with the responsibilities of

enforcing relevant environmental laws, while the remaining percentage 18% said that it is poor

understanding of legislations that hinders enforcement of the laws.

Table 7: Problems hindering enforcement of statutory environmental legislations

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Lack of awareness  

72

36.0

36.0

36.0

Inadequate funding 

40

20.0

20.0

56.0

Lack of training

52

26.0

26.0

82.0

Poor understanding of legislations

36

18.0

18.0

100.0

Total

200

100.0

100.0

Table 8 shows the result of analysis on best strategies to improve the enforcement efforts by relevant

government agencies as the regulated communities and promoting compliance to environmental

requirements. 30% of the respondents indicated that adequate education and sensitization of regulated

communities can improved enforcement efforts, 24% of the respondents believed that proper funding

of enforcement programmes will help improve enforcement efforts, 22% indicated that proper training

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of enforcement officials on relevant laws and legislations and their applications will help promote

enforcement and compliance, 6% of the respondents said review of laws and enactment of appropriate

new ones will be a sure bet to poor enforcement actions of relevant authorities.

Table 8: Strategies to improve enforcement efforts and compliance to environmental requirements 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Proper funding of enforcement programmes

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The research concluded that diligent enforcement of environmental laws and relevant managementtools promotes compliance to environmental laws and regulations. The  path of environmental

compliance regulation and enforcement in Nigeria began slowly and later became reactive. Today,

Nigeria’s environmental compliance and regulations are gradually becoming firmer, with institutions

such as the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) at

the federal level, and environmental protection Agencies at state and local government levels are

being put in place for environmental management and monitoring. It is pleasing that environmental

legislation in Nigeria is progressing in the right direction— from a state of virtual non-existence to its

present state of environmental laws, regulations and institutions, with centralization of environmental

management in environmental protection agencies. 

Strengthening compliance to environmental laws must incorporate measures for improved awareness

and sensitization about existing laws, to conserve the quality of environmental resources to prevent

their deterioration; monitoring and restoration of polluted or damaged resources; and enforcement,

including penalties for non-compliance. These multifaceted procedures would act in accordance with

international agreements about the best options for safeguarding important natural resources. In the

interest of sustainable development, the following recommendations are imperative;

• relevant government Agencies charged with the responsibilities of environmental compliance

monitoring and enforcement should ensure improved and vigorous enforcement of relevant

environmental laws, standards and regulations to promote compliance;

• there should be improved inter-agency collaboration among various relevant Agencies to

coordinate enforcement actions towards compliance promotion;

• there should be improved funding and welfare of staff of enforcement agencies;

• there is need for improved environmental education, sensitization and awareness advocacy

among the citizenry; and 

• Citizens should be admonished to comply voluntarily to environmental requirements.

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