The importance of forestry
resources cannot be over emphasized. From time immemorial, Forestry resources,
like any other natural resources have always been essential to the survival of
mankind. Hence, there is a need for the sustainable management and development
of forestry resources. However, this can only be achieved by the promulgation
and enforcement of laws and practices that will ensure that forests are not
exploited in an irresponsible and unsustainable manner.
Less than 10% of Nigeria’s
land is covered by forests, and only 20,000 hectares of the country’s primary
forests remain. There have been high rates of deforestation in the country; the
annual rate was 5% between 2010 and 2015
In spite of the strategic
soico – economic and cultural significance of forests, the sustainable
management of forestry resources is not without challenges. Illegal logging is
today one of the biggest challenges in the sustainability of forestry
resources. Illegal logging can simply be described as harvesting of timber in
violation of national laws and practices. The need to curb illegal logging has
taken a central stage in international foreign agenda as it does not only cause
forest degradation thereby ……………., it results in loss of biodiversity, deprives
the government of huge sums of money in tax and revenue.
This dissertation seeks to
discuss the menace of illegal logging as it affects the sustainable management
of forestry resources in Nigeria. The need for Nigeria to shift its focus on
oil revenue and maximise income revenue from other of its natural resources is
long overdue. A brief analysis of the occurrence of illegal logging and its
impact on the Nigerian environment, society and economy and the role and
response of the international community in tackling illegal logging and trade
shall also be discussed.
These among others are the
pertinent socio – legal issues that this dissertation shall aim to address:
What is illegal logging;
What are the root causes of illegal logging activities
in Nigerian forest;
To what extent are the anti-illegal logging
laws enforced by the regulators;
What are the pre-emptive methods adopted in
tackling illegal logging;
What is the regulatory regime for exploitation
of forestry resources in Nigeria;
Are there adequate laws governing logging of
How have these laws operated in curbing illegal
logging actives in Nigeria;
What role have the government played in
tackling illegal logging in Nigeria;
How has Nigeria participated or benefited from
the international initiatives in tackling illegal logging and trade.
National and State Legislation
National Legislation and State
By virtue of section 20 of the
Nigerian Constitution provides for the protection and improvement of the
environment is recognised as national objective. On one hand, section 12
provides that international treaties (including environmental treaties) can be
ratified by the National Assembly and should be implemented as law in Nigeria,
while section ………..allow states to legislate and pass laws for the regulation
of environmental activities in their state. The environmental impact assessment
act is also a major regulatory too in the forestry industry in Nigeria as it
makes it mandatory for there to be an assessment of the likely effect any
activity sought to be undertaken by any person, authority corporate body or
incorporated, including all organs of government, will have on the
environment. Other legislations
concerning the environment in Nigeria include the National Environmental
Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act, 2007. The national
park services act provides inta alia for the conservation of wildlife, the
protection of endangered species of wildlife plants and animals and their
habitat, and the conservation of biological diversity in Nigeria. Another
important legislation is the Endangered species act which provide for the
conservation and management of Nigeria’s wildlife and the protection of some of
her endangered species in danger of extinction as a result of
over-exploitation, as required under certain international treaties which
Nigeria is a signatory.
It is pertinent to note that
under the Nigerian legal system, state are empowered to make their own laws to
regulate environment which includes the protection and preservation of forestry
resources. In Lagos state, south west of Nigeria, the Lagos state environmental
protection agency (LASEPA) is saddled with the responsibility to enforce
environmental laws in the state.
Books, Journals, International
Literature on illegal logging
and forest management is replete. Authors and writers like Bass and Brack have
written extensively on the topic. In addition, the literature shows that
illegal logging undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption and is an obstacle
for development. The menace of illegal logging and the need to control the its
associated problem has gained attention from the international community.
International treaties have emerged overtime to tackle the problem.
As such, the studies
considered in this literature review relate to both illegal logging and
sustainable management of forest resources as these are very closely linked.
In recognition of its role as
one of the world’s largest markets for timber products, the EU has adopted its
Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan that sets out
a range of measures to tackle illegal logging another EU instrument worthy of
note is the Timber Regulation (EUTR).
These are EU’s key pieces of legislation that help tackle this issue. The EU
institutions are currently reviewing the EUTR. The FLEGT needs to be better
implemented and further improved, so it can address new EU challenges like activities
that result in forest degradation, including illegal logging.
The FLEGT Action Plan
recognises the role of trade agreements as a way of reducing the illegal timber
trade and thus introduced the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), which
are bilateral trade agreements between the EU and producer countries. This
report explains how VPAs function, the areas in which VPAs have been introduced
(including the Central African Republic) and what progress has been made.
The Lacey Act is a 1900 United
States law that bans trafficking in illegal wildlife. In 2008, the Act was
amended to include plants and plant products such as timber and paper. This
landmark legislation is the world’s first ban on trade in illegally sourced
There are two major components
to the plant amendments: a ban on trading plants or plant products harvested in
violation of the law; and a requirement to declare the scientific name, value,
quantity, and country of harvest origin for some products.
The Lacey Act is a fact-based
statute with strict liability, which means that only actual legality counts (no
third-party certification or verification schemes can be used to
“prove” legality under the Act) and that violators of the law can face
criminal and civil sanctions even if they did not know that they were dealing
with an illegally harvested product.
Penalties for violating the
Lacey Act vary in severity based on the violator’s level of knowledge about the
product: penalties are higher for those who knew they were trading in illegally
harvested materials. For those who did not know, penalties vary based on
whether the individual or company in question did everything possible to
determine that the product was legal. In the U.S. system, this is called
“due care,” and is a legal concept designed to encourage flexibility
in the marketplace.
Australia’s illegal logging laws, like similar legislation in the European Union
and the United States, has been designed to support the trade of legal timber
into the Australian market. The laws consist of the Illegal Logging
Prohibition Act 2012 (the Act) and the Illegal Logging
Prohibition Regulation 2012 (the Regulation).
The Act commenced on 28
November 2012 and establishes Australia’s illegal logging framework. The Act
makes it a criminal offense to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly import
wood, pulp and paper products into Australia or process Australian raw logs
that have been illegally logged. It also outlines that businesses must
undertake ‘due diligence’ on certain regulated processes.
The Regulation commenced on 30
November 2014 and describes the due diligence process that businesses must
undertake. Due diligence requires importers of regulated timber products and
Australian processors of raw logs to minimize the risk that the wood or
wood-fiber has been illegally logged.
These treaties like shall all
be taken into consideration in the course of this research.
Research methodology is the
strategy in which a research is carried out. A research is always faced with
the challenge of adopting a research methodology from various options. However,
one must adopt methodology which is most suitable for the research and which
the aim of the research is most achievable. This dissertation is aimed at
analysing the problems of illegal logging and how it has affected the
sustainability of forestry resources in Nigeria. It is without doubt that the
menace of illegal logging does not only reside within the ambit of the law, it
also has a huge impact on the society and the economy of any given state.
Hence, discussions of wider ethical issues.
it is therefore imperative that further should
carried out beyond the ambit legal perspective. Essentially, the chosen
methodology shall need to permit social culture, expectations and values to be
considered hence this research must not be centred a single discipline.
Against this backdrop, the
most appropriate methodology which is adopted for this research is the socio –
legal methodology which allows for fusion of both legal and social
perspectives. A socio-legal approach is hereby adopted.
It is pertinent to state that
the socio-legal methodology will not only be concerned with the rules of law
concerning the research question. It will juxtapose this with social, economic,
political, and psychological considerations of the issues herein. It allows for
a systematic and regular reference to the context of the problem which laws
were supposed to resolved, the purpose they were to serve and the effect they
have. One can then boldly counter the notion that law is usually conservative
to the social issues it was supposed to regulate.
methodology is interdisciplinary, it allows the building of bridges between the
law and other disciplines such as economics, sociology, politics, etc.
This method presents the law
as a useful part of the wider society. In conclusion, socio-legal methodology
functionalises law making it an effective instrument for the achievement of
economic, social, and political objectives. It can rightly be used to persuade
government, regulators, business representatives, indigenous people and other
interested parties concerned with the administration of justice and the legal
Method refers to ‘the range of
techniques that are available to us to collect evidence. A socio-legal
methodology allows research to operate ‘within very different definitions of
the appropriate range and scope of relevant sources of materials
According to Matt Hen et al, method is a ‘wide range of
techniques that are available to us to collect evidence about the social world’.
It is going to critically utilise existing social data, literature, and legal
principles in arriving at a beneficial and acceptable position on the subject
matter. In doing this, the research shall employ primary sources such as the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Laws of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria on the relevant subjects like the environment, wild life,
endangered species etc., as well as relevant gazetted government policies.
Secondary sources will also be extensive utilised. The sources include books,
journals and articles, media reports, international organisations publication
on the subjects, relative government publications, and relevant Internet
materials. The materials will be extracted from the University of the West of
England Library (physical and electronic), because the library is well and
constantly updated on historical and current materials concerning the research
question. The research will heavily utilise relevant words, notes and phrases
on forestry governance and sustainable management of forestry resources, and
its inherent challenges.
Manual and physical searches
of in the library will also be carried out uncover relevant sources falling
outside of these search terms. Searching numerous libraries shall provide the
best chance of collecting all relevant information. The use of online search
engines with global databases such as Google Scholar, will be very helpful in
identify key work and terminology utilised within this topic. This, however,
must be approached with caution as it may produce thousands of results at any
time, much of which will be irrelevant material. Legal database searching will
be an essential method. Databases such as Westlaw, Lexis Library and Heinonline
shall be heavily utilised. Different databases embody differing sources of
legal data and journals, so all available will require exploration. The UWE
library electronic catalogue provides an invaluable way of searching across
these databases in a generalised manner. Although large numbers of documents
shall undoubtedly be returned using this method, layering searches/terms will
systematically taper results.
of Socio of Legal Method
This research is predicated on
the tackling illegal logging and the sustainable maintenance of forestry
resources in Nigeria. Because of the nature of the research, social and legal
indices will be employed in arriving at a satisfactory answer. Thus, the socio-legal
methodology presents the best possible approach for executing this research.
This is because of the benefits the approach presents to the researcher. Such
that the researcher will have unrestricted access to a wide variety of
resources concerning the research question.
There are other benefits
available to the researcher from adopting this approach.
For instance, the socio-legal
methodology will not excessively concentrate on the rules of law concerning the
research question. It will juxtapose this with social, economic, political, and
psychological considerations of the issues herein. ‘It affords systematic and
regular reference to the context of the problem which laws were supposed to
resolved, the purpose they were to serve and the effect they have. It therefore
presents an opportunity to counter the perspective that law is usually
conservative to the social issues it was supposed to regulate.
methodology is interdisciplinary, it allows the building of bridges between the
law and other disciplines such as economics, sociology, politics, etc. For
instance, in the consideration of the issue that the contamination of the Niger
Delta environment through oil and gas activities is a breach of fundamental
right to life, what will be the economic impact of the enforcement of this
right? This method presents the law as a useful part of the wider society.
Finally, and very importantly, socio-legal methodology functionalises law
making it an effective instrument for the achievement of economic, social, and
political objectives. It impacts upon government policy-makers, regulators,
business representatives, and other interested parties concerned with the
administration of justice and the legal system.
Though my background in the
legal has mainly been centred around litigation, while I worked in a law firm
in Nigeria, I have always had interest in environmental law and natural resource
law. I didn’t have to ponder about doing my LLM in environmental law in UWE, especially
in England. One can rightly say that I am pro clean and green environment
because of my roots in Nigeria which is the Niger delta area of Nigeria. The
Niger Delta though is mainly known to be an oil rich region, faced with series
of environmental harzards, however, it is often discussed or known for
environmental issues like oil spillage, green house gas emission, pollution
etc, the region is also troubled by the activity of indiscriminate and unlawful
harvesting of forestry product is as dangerous to the environment like any
other environmental hazard. These activities have ben recurrent as though there
were no regard for the environment or there were no proper regulation of activities
going on in the forest. This have not only persuaded me to concern myself with these
illegal forest activities.
When the opportunity came to
undergo my masters, I did not hesitate to opt into the environmental law post
graduate program as a strong duty to help the people of Niger Delta device a
reform to totally eradicate the practice of illegal logging which will only
deplete the God given natural resources of Nigeria.
Since my arrival in UWE about
a year ago, I have no harboured any iota of regret in doing masters. I have
benefited immensely from the brilliant lectures and its vast educations
equipment and its very conducive learning environment.
IN JANUARY 2017
I arrived at Gatwick Airport in January 2017, I was greeted with freezing cold.
Having lived in Africa all my life, it took a while before I could adapt to the
cold weather in England. I must admit that this affected my studies in the 1st
semester as I was unable to concentrate while reading. The heating system
wasn’t of any help. On the other hand, feeding and footing the house bills wasn’t
easy as well due to financial shortages. Thankfully, that didn’t last too long.
Lectures have been broad, interactive, participatory, and above all expository.
There are things I have learned concerning the environment, its resources, and the
right of people to enjoy these resources, that if applied in live situations,
it will create boundless opportunities for redressing the damages caused to the
environment. In spite of this, this, I have to admit the inherent difficulties
in studying, evaluating, analysing the different and varied literatures and
materials. This exercise is time consuming affects time and speed because every
academic work demands that one should take a position. Such stands have to be enlightening,
critical, and should present the best possible solution to any given problem. fortunately,
the UWE is well endowed with modern facilities and technology to ensure that
research work is carried out in the most safe and convenient way. The UWE academic environment is of high
standards and its Library world class. My writing and oratory skills have been
greatly enhanced, and my knowledge of the law and legal instruments especially
international instruments has been well developed.
On a Dissertation Topic
I did not have much thoughts in choosing a dissertation topic. I considered
other areas in environmental law that needed to be looked into. At the end of
the day I had to choose the topic that affects me and my immediate community
most. I must say that there’s no environmental issue that is more important
than the other, but I had to go for the topic that I had passion for s this
will help me to progress in my research without bored or fed up. The
opportunity to finally dwell on the present topic came during a Natural
Resources Law class on forestry resources. During that class, I became aware of
tremendous regulatory and pre – emptive methods that both the international
community and other western countries have been implementing to fight illegal
logging in order to preserve their forestry resources for their future generation.
This was a motivation for me to go ahead with the topic. Further readings exposed me to other instruments
like FLEGT, Lacey act, CITES (Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), EU Timber regulation etc and how these
instruments have been operating in the western world. It was
at this point that the dissertation topic was formulated.
am optimistic that at the end, the dissertation would have assisted in a better
understanding of the issues canvassed, particularly, particularly the reforms
needed in Nigeria to fight illegal logging.
The issues in this research are found in a
wide range of literature covering every aspect of the research. The issues cut
across law, history, politics, sociology, economy, etc. The online library of
the UWE is another beautiful system. One can easily access relevant data based
on these issues in the research. The library is even more beneficial when the
information sought is broken down in bits. I have found this method very
In concluding, I must state that in further
post graduate research endeavors, getting in touch with lecturers, colleagues
and learned friends about the potential topic timeously will be very helpful
and make things a little less challenging. Also sharing research ideas with
persons of common interest or have expertise is of immense importance.
One should be willing to explore new research
tools and methods you have never used before i.e to explore new legal
databases. It is also pertinent to make good use of university resources such
as the Learning Development Centre.it is also important to jot crucial points
and ideas that may skip one’s mind in a handy notebook. Lastly, one should not
underestimate any type of research project as this may result in over
confidence which always results in failure.