A nongovernmental organization in Akwa Ibom State, the Community Watch of Nigeria has made a case for oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta, demanding that compensation be paid by oil companies for flouting the law stopping gas flaring in the country.
Speaking to newsmen in Eket on Monday, the International President of the group, Chief Samingo Etukakpan said if such measures are not taken, oil companies will continue to brazenly flare gas to the detriment of the country.
“Despite the fact that the Federal Government has collected fines from oil companies as penalties for gas flaring, there is urgent need for the the oil producing communities to be compensated directly by the “oil companies” Chief Etukakpan said.
He averred that residents of gas flaring areas suffer from various heart and Lungs complications and life span of people living in Core Oil Producing Communities have over the years decreased drastically, adding that the activities of gas flaring destroys the ecosystem and creates retrogressive global climate change.
Chief Etukakpan called on the senate committee on gas resources headed by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan to urgently amend laws on gas flaring in the country to accommodate direct compensation to residents of the affected areas as a measure to instill compliance.
He called on the Federal and State Ministries of Environment, NOSDRA, DPR and other stakeholders in the industry to urgently cause compensation to be paid directly to victims of gas flaring.
“Gas has been flared in Nigeria since the 1950s despite the acute energy poverty faced by Nigerians. The country loses billions of dollars to gas flaring annually”, he said.
It would be recalled that oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria were fined N1.81billion in nine months, between January and September 2015, for flouting Federal Government’s directives on gas flaring as revealed from a data of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).