Senate To Strengthen Gas Flare Laws …Set to Punish Nigerian Accomplices

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The Nigerian Senate has identified  the fact that if Nigeria must meet up with the  National Gas Flare-out Target  of January  2030, it must have a working legislation, equipped  with commensurate penalties for gas flaring  offences in the  nation.
The Senate has also made it clear that Nigerians who man the Petroleum Ministry and regulatory  agencies  are as much culpable to gas flaring offences as the  multinational oil companies  themselves.
These were part of issues raised  at plenary, as the Senate  considered a bill  titled: Gas Flaring ( Prohibition and Punishment  bill) 2016 sponsored by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey  Albert Akpan.
The bill among others seeks to address the inadequacies   of the 1979 Act;  bring gas flare penalty  in tune with current  economic  realities  and ensure the achievement of the National Flare out  Target of January  2030.
Sen Albert  Bassey in his lead debate  decried dangerous environmental and energy waste practices in the country’s petroleum industry.
Akpan  noted that the flaring of natural gas was one of the most dangerous environmental and energy waste practices in the country’s petroleum industry.
He said  that gas flaring had adverse effect on the environment and human health.
The lawmaker added that it had  resulted  in economic loss, deprived  the Federal Government of tax revenues and trade opportunities and  deprived consumers of  clean and cheaper energy source.
His words:  “Available data from the NNPC has shown that Nigeria lost billions in revenue last year. The volume of gas flared is sufficient to generate 3.5 megawatts of electricity. This is not to say the quantifiable  social health and environmental impacts
‘It appears that the euphoria of oil discovery and commencement of production in 1958 blinded Nigerians as there was no provision to handle gas in association with the oil.
Government neither stipulated any law nor guidance during the nascent period of our oil production history
“All efforts to stop the flaring of natural gas has not been effective and Nigerians have remained the victims of lack of Gas Flaring Prohibition Act,” he said.
According to the lawmaker ,the bill   when passed into law,  would help to provide a strong legal framework for effective monitoring and regulation of gas activities in line with current realities.
He stressed that the bill sought to ensure achievement of the national flare  out target of January 1, 2030 in line with the United Nations Charter.
In his contribution, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. John Enoh, said it was disheartening that Nigeria was still battling with stopping gas flaring and called for the passage of the bill  in order to put strict measures in place to tackle the problems posed by the flaring of gas.
“We remain an amazing country especially  because since 1958 up till now,  we are still talking about  what to do about gas flaring. So we have  to put in measures to make it expensive to flare gas,” he said.
Senator Ben Murray Bruce lamented that  gas flaring has continued in Nigeria because the laws against the act are toothless and obnoxious.
Senator  Bruce noted that the practice thrived because  Nigerians who  man the ministries and regulatory  agencies are unpatriotic and either allow the foreign companies  flare the gas while they look the other way or allow them evade substantial punishment.
His words, ” Nobody ever pays attention  to these incompetent  people who should be protecting  Nigerians.
“I agree we go for the foreign companies  because they are very irresponsible  themselves  but we must deal with the issue of Nigerians who are not patriotic.  We must discuss the issue of punishing these Nigerians.”

 

Source: TheTide

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