By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) has urged the federal government to put an end to gas flaring in the Niger Delta.
CEPEJ in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Sheriff Mulade, said the appeal became necessary following the Governmentâ€™s plans to charge those who flout gas flaring law that cost her billions of dollars as stated by Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
He observed that oil companies prefer flaring gas instead of harnessing the gas 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 â€œchargeâ€ replaced with â€œpenaltyâ€ would 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.
â€œIt 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,â€ he said.
The National Coordinator of CEPEJ therefore urged the federal government to demonstrate effective political will to enact environmental friendly policies, build a dynamic and competitive energy sector, enhance governance and commitment to regulate enforcement, and expand external financing solutions.
He added: â€œGovernment should provide a legal, regulatory, investment and operating environment that is conducive to upstream investments.
He also advised oil companies to develop new oil fields and operate according to plans that incorporate sustainable utilisation of the fields associated with gas without routine flaring.