This study presents a detailed and critical review of the Alternative Dispute Resolution as a non-judicial mechanism for the settlement of environmental disputes in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Ordinarily, disputes whether environmental or otherwise are resolved through court processes, but due to delays, costs, publicity and technicality associated with litigation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms evolved. There are several bitter complaints from the victims of pollution in the Niger Delta region that the courts, conventionally the last hope of the common man, have not lived up to expectations in environmental litigations thereby justifying their recourse to ADR as a better option. A significant number of environmental cases were lost on flimsy reasons. Today, ADR procedures are considered imperative worldwide, and are used by a wide range of courts, tribunals, organizations and victims of pollution in Nigeria as tools for overcoming environmental impasse, improving the efficiency of difficult negotiations, and achieving durable settlements. It takes different forms as arbitration, mediation, conciliation, negotiation, among others. The detailed discussion of these forms, and their advantages vis-à-vis the courts’ processes will facilitate an informed appreciation of the use of ADR in the environmental disputes settlement.
Key words: Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), environmental, Niger Delta, arbitration, court, pollution, right, Nigeria dispute.
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