Prior to the dumping of toxic waste in Koko village, in Delta State, in 1987, Nigeria was ill-equipped to manage serious environmental crisis, as there were no institutional arrangements or mechanisms for environmental protection and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations in the country.
Following the Koko toxic waste episode, the Federal Government promulgated the Harmful Waste Decree 42 of 1988, which facilitated the establishment of the then Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) through Decree 58 of 1988. In the wisdom of Government, FEPA and other relevant Departments in other Ministries were merged to form the Federal Ministry of Environment in 1999, but without an appropriate enabling law on enforcement issues. This situation, however created a vacuum in the effective enforcement of environmental laws, standards and regulations in the country. To address this situation, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was established as a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development. The NESREA Act was accented to by Mr. President on 30th July, 2007. By the NESREA Act, the FEPA Act Cap F 10 LFN 2004 has been repealed.
NESREA is charged with the responsibility of enforcing all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in Nigeria. It also has the responsibility to enforce compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions and treaties on the environment. The vision of the Agency is to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for all Nigerians, while the mission is to inspire personal and collective responsibility in building an environmentally conscious society for the achievement of sustainable development in Nigeria.