By Tony Akowe
Abuja (Precise Post) – Nigeria’s House of Representatives has expressed concern about the huge financial loss the nation is incurring as a result of gas flaring by oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. Consequently, the House has directed its committees to investigate the loss and report back to her.
The House said it was unfortunate that few weeks to 2020 target to end gas flaring in the country, there is nothing concrete on ground to suggest that gas flaring will stop.
The House regretted that while the country was looking for money to fund its annual budget, alot of resources was being wasted through gas flaring, while oil companies in the Niger Delta have failed to implement extant laws.
The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Ben Rolland Igbakpa (PDP, Delta) drawing the attention of the House to the hazard being faced by communities in the Niger Delta as a result of gas flaring as well as the huge financial loss to the nation.
He also drew the attention of the House to the fact that flaring of natural gas around the world contributes immensely to the scourge of climate change, with over 350 million tons of emissions each year. Nigeria is now a signatory to the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), setting for herself a 2020 deadline to end gas flaring.
He expressed concern that routine flaring of associated gas still goes on unabated in the Niger Delta area thereby posing severe environmental and health hazards to the people of the area.
According to him, pollution related to gas flaring has been linked to cancer of the lung and other neurological and reproductive illnesses in the Niger Delta, adding that gas flares are destroying crops and polluting the waters as well.
He said further that an estimated 2 million people live within four kilometers (2.5 miles) of a gas flares in the Delta region, adding that “during the rainy season, the rain water is visibly black and in Port Harcourt and Warri for example, there were days of dark clouds hanging in the sky, so that noon may look like evening time.”
He said further that aside the environmental and health risks posed by flaring of associated gas, gas ‘flaring amounts to burning money and wasting of resources as the methane or the combusted type which is flared can be monetized as a revenue earner for Nigeria, as is now obtainable elsewhere.