On gas flaring, oil spills and climate change | The Guardian Nigeria News
The continued occurrence of gas flares and oil spills in the Niger Delta region of the country has become very worrying. The stories of suffering of the people in the Niger Delta from gas flaring are pathetic and should have no place in modern oil production. Over the years, various governments, from the First Republic to the present day, seem to have paid lip service to solving this avoidable and recurring challenge in the region that lays the golden egg for the survival of the country’s economy. Without exception, the problem seems to have come to stay. The consequences of this climate crisis triggered by gas flares and oil spills are the disappearance of wildlife and fish in rivers and streams, the disappearance of fresh water, excessive heat and the shrinking of vegetation, especially farm trees, in the devastated region.
As the saying goes: “Whoever wears the shoe knows where it is pinching” and so the inhabitants of the Niger Delta have nothing to tell about this threat in their ecosystem but stories of suffering. A case in point is the recent blatant history of the devastation of farmlands and rivers in the Ndokwa region of Delta State, which is just one of many such incidents in the region’s oil-producing communities. The Ogoni oil spill is one of many others in the region to which the responses from various governments have been largely lackluster. These have spawned serious manifestations of the climate change crisis that created this threat.
Solving this challenge must involve the government, oil companies and the receiving communities where oil is produced, along with many other actors. Interestingly, the apparent partnerships between these stakeholders over the years have not produced the results expected. This has been the case for over 60 years since oil was first discovered in Oloibiri in what is now Bayelsa state. The problem doesn’t seem to have subsided since then. The recent oil spill and environmental degradation at Ndokwa West Council in Delta State is a sad reminder of the negative externalities that oil exploration has brought to the residents of the oil-producing region. The area surrounded by about 10 torch racks operated by major oil companies like Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Pillar Oil Limited, Energia Oil Limited, Mid-Western Oil Limited, Sterling Global Limited’s Liquefied Natural Gas Plant has grown to a kind of oven. This is the same narrative throughout the Niger Delta region. Residents of the region, especially in the oil producing communities, barely sleep due to the unbearable heat from the gas flaring and hydrocarbon emissions in the community. The life expectancy of the region’s population has been drastically affected. Why is the situation different in other countries when most of the organizations and companies involved are the same?
Policymakers in Abuja would need to look at this problem differently and ensure that the people of the region are not roasted to death while the country’s economy is sustained by the income from oil production in their region. Oil corporations too have smiled with enormous oil wealth, while the communities that generate the wealth have been practically neglected or withdrawn from their proper attention. Political statements by the government itself seem to have been taken for granted by the people in the oil-producing communities. The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) recently signed by Mr President, which lays down rules to protect the environment and the interests of the host communities and, if necessary, to remediate the environment, will hopefully help alleviate Niger’s fears. to disperse delta region.
Although there is currently great distrust between the authorities in Abuja and the host communities, especially about the content of the PIA, the proportion of the meager three percent of the regional oil wealth from the extraction to the host communities is a kind of fence – between the authorities and the receiving communities a repair is taking place to allay the region’s fears and to ensure that at least its environment is not constantly harmed. Previous promises to end the flaring were broken and broken. And nobody is sanctioned, but people and the environment are devastated. This has to be put to an end. Is the government doing due diligence or has it been compromised? Are the problems insurmountable? The government needs to face the situation and ensure that gas flaring and environmental degradation in the region are addressed directly.