chapter  1
Introduction
Pages 24

This book is centrally concerned with a discussion and comparative analysis that seeks to answer the question of whether, or to what extent, Nigerian laws and practices on public participation in environmental matters are in consonance with what may be considered international best practice in this field and, where it is found to be inadequate, how best the status quo in Nigeria can be improved to meet those standards in order to ensure better public participation. Essentially, this book aims to analyse and, where necessary, recommend reforms to Nigerian laws relating to public participation in environmental matters, as a fundamental contribution to engendering and sustaining better practices in that regard. This analysis and law-reform exercise will uniquely be carried out on the basis

of a body of international best practice principles that, as argued, is politically and legally relevant to Nigeria. This will be done in general consideration of some socio-political and economic factors in the country that are relevant to environmental public participation. To add meaning and context to this enterprise, the value of (striving for) an effective legal system on public participation in environmental governance in Nigeria will, within reasonable limits, be addressed in this book from a historical, practical and theoretical perspective. Thematically, this book focuses on ‘public participation’ in environmental

governance from a procedural perspective, in terms of: (1) public access to environmental information; and (2) public access or participation in environmental decision-making processes. So even though it is widely understood that ‘public participation’ is a ‘nebulous concept’, which defies general definition for several reasons,1 there is overarching agreement in the literature that the twin aforementioned participatory elements in their diverse forms are integral parts of the ‘public participation’ concept.2