1.1    Background of the Research

The importance of observing human rights in any legal system and its significance cannot be overemphasized. Notably, one of the lessons of globalization and the new international economic order is the increasing awareness that the enforcement of human rights is a cornerstone in the realization of sustainable development, nationally and internationally. To this end, looking at the concept and nature of sustainable development, and what it professes, the importance of a legal system lies not only in ensuring civil liberties but in addition creating a viable environment where economic development and social equity can be enjoyed.

Nigeria has ratified plethora of human rights treaties that seek to set globally applied standards. Some of these standards, especially in recent times are not limited to civil liberty domain rather they serve as prelude to the realization of both socio-economic, cultural and solidarity rights which make room for the realization of sustainable development .  These rights in essence form the new international economic and legal order and thus emerges the concept of sustainable development which “environmental law’’ seeks to promote.

Within the context of environmental law however, are the ontological and historical dimensions. These dimensions depict a mother-child correlation or evolution theory. It is established that human rights of the second and third generations which of course, are developed from that of the first generation, all as reminiscent of natural law, are now being codified with minimum standards. These standards areraised by international law and made tangible by municipal law. Thus, emerges the consciousness that there are environmental rights, such as the right to a clean and healthy environment, the right to development, the right to participate in the developmental and approval process, the right to environmental information, the right to compensation and the right of access to justice.  They are however, the corollaries of the right to life.

In addition to this development, in 2012, the United Nations Environment

Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for

Human Rights (OHCHR) have strengthened their collaboration in the field of the nexus between human rights and environmental protection during the United Nations conference on sustainable development. In the same year, the United

Nations Human Rights Council as part of its special procedures appointed an Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and appointed Professor Knox to this position. In line with his appointment as an Independent Expert and as a part of his obligation, in 2014, at the regional level, a consultation was made by the Independent Expert on the constitution of environmental rights at Johannesburg, South Africa. The consultation was convened by the United Nations Independent

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