The Federal Government has been urged to effectively end the practice of gas flaring in the Niger Delta, in the interest of the people of the region.
The National Coordinator of the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Comrade Sheriff Mulade, made the call in a statement issued in Warri on Friday.
Mulade noted that the new amendment recently suggested by the Federal Government would not be deterrent enough to the international oil companies.
He made this statement following government’s plan to charge those who flout gas flaring law that cost the nation billions of dollars as, stated by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
According to him, oil companies prefer flaring gas instead of harnessing it for economic benefit to the people.
Mulade stated that the new intention by government to approach lawmakers to amend the law and have the word “charge” replaced with “penalty” will not stop the flare, since companies find it easier to flare, pay the penalty and move on, without considering the hazardous effect on the people.
“It is believed that the gas flare law is weak; hence the oil companies flout it at will. Most communities are suffering terrible hardship as a result of gas flaring and oil spill. While some are under the threat of relocation by oil companies to make way for more gas flare”, he said.
He, however, urged the federal government to demonstrate effective political will to enact environment friendly policies, build a dynamic and competitive energy sector, enhance governance and show commitment to regulate enforce, and expand external financing solutions.
He added that government should provide a legal, regulatory, investment and operating environment that is conducive to upstream investments.
Mulade also advised oil companies to develop new oil fields and operate according to plans that incorporate sustainable utilization of the fields associated with gas without routine flaring.