Energy Law and Policy in Nigeria with Reflection on the International Energy Charter and Domestication of the African Charter

Godswill Agbaitoro, PhD candidate at the University of Essex, and Dr Eghosa Osa Ekhator, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Derby, have published a book chapter titled ‘Energy Law and Policy in Nigeria with Reflection on the International Energy Charter and Domestication of the African Charter’.

Since the 1960s, energy resources, in particular oil and gas, have maintained a dominant position in the Nigerian economy. In fact, due to the availability of vast abundance of energy resources (conventional and unconventional), Nigeria remains one of the top nations both in Africa and to the rest of the world at least in terms of energy resources development. Over the years, this position prompted the central government of Nigeria to become signatories to a number of international documents mainly to explore avenues that would assist the country to remain relevant at the international level. In this book chapter, Dr Eghosa Osa Ekhator and Godswill Agbaitoro examine the benefits of one of these international documents – the International Energy Charter (IEC) – to signatory countries, such as Nigeria, with a view to illustrating its future relevance and influence in respect of domestic energy laws and policies.

The main outcome of the chapter is to point out some critical roles of the IEC in respect of energy governance and, more importantly, its impact on Nigeria in terms of maintaining its place in the global energy landscape. With this in mind, the authors examine possible contributions of the IEC to the ability of signatory countries to enhance international cooperation aimed at addressing contemporary energy challenges, while enabling these countries to harness their full energy resource potential.

Part of the analysis provided in the chapter flows from the authors’ quest to answer the main research question: whether the IEC possesses the requisite elements to transform Nigeria’s energy laws and policies so as to bring about positive outcomes in the country’s energy sector? To answer this, the authors argue for possible domestication of the IEC, in the same way as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) has been domesticated in Nigeria; and concludes that lessons can be gleaned from its successful domestication. Of course, this was not suggested without considering some barriers that may hinder the successful implementation of the IEC in Nigeria.

The chapter appears in Romola Adeola and Ademola Oluborode Jegede (eds), Governance in Nigeria post-1999: Revisiting the democratic ‘new dawn’ of the Fourth Republic (Pretoria University Law Press 2019). To read more, download the book for free here and see chapter 8.

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