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Why Gas Flaring Deadline Is Hardly Met -Don

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When at last, the
Federal Government set the current deadline for the stoppage of gas flaring by oil exploration and development companies in the country, most Nigerians heaved  a sigh of relief that the disturbing issue of gas flaring would soon be a thing of the past, but surprisingly, many years after the Federal Government’s deadline, gas flames still dot oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta.
The Acting Director of Pollution Studies (IPS) of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Dr. Tubonimi Joseph Ideriah, identified some factors as being responsible for the deadlines not being adhered to.
He said, “There are many factors that contribute to why it is so. One, the operators find it difficult because when you stop the flaring, where do you channel the gas to? That arrangement or provision has not been made or put in place for them to divert the gas to such areas.”
“Again, like every other area in our system where laws are made and people flout the laws as good enforcement is lacking to follow up defaulters of these laws,” he said, noting that the laws are made but that people go behind to receive gratifications, they mellow down and allow unacceptable practices to continue unabated.
Dr. Ideriah expressed the belief that if properly followed up, the operators could definitely look for alternative ways of channeling the gas being flared such that it could be utilized.
The IPS director, who is an expert in Environmental Analytical Chemistry said that though he could not give the value of the nation’s wealth being wasted through gas flare figure-wise but that the nation is losing so much.
He advised that the new power companies that bought over Power Holding Companies of Nigeria (PHCN) could benefit if the gas being flared is channeled to them to solve the problem of gas shortage which they often complain about.
The expert regretted that apart from the huge wealth being wasted in flaring the gas, the environment is being polluted by the activities of unpatriotic Nigerians who sabotage the nation by vandalizing gas pipelines because of survival or agitations.
He advised that sabotaging the effort of government through vandalism of gas pipes should stop and Nigerians should be patriotic while to the agitators, the environmentalist advised them to channel their request to the appropriate quarters and give sometime for the government to attend to such requests. “But when you go the other way round to sabotage, you create problems for the community on behalf of whom may be you think you are fighting for because the environmental effects for such activities could be disastrous as the pollutants emitted into the air may linger for decades and children yet unborn could come to meet them.
The Niger Delta region, he said, is comparatively polluted basically because of the oil exploration and exploitation activities heavily going on in the area as there is no way such activities could be carried on in the area without the pollution associated with such economic activities.
“Since the advent of these oil companies in the Niger Delta, we began to see serious changes in the environment. For instance, houses that are in communities where you have oil exploration activities taking place, farmers and fishermen who managed to buy a bundle of zinc to build house, hoping that the house could be for life, but we have started experiencing fast decay of roofing sheets in most communities especially the riverine area”.
“The gases are mixed with the air that we breathe, so you can see that the air we breathe is polluted, the water we use from the River that we fish as Niger Deltans whose major occupation is fishing as we depend on it and once the river is polluted, whatever we get from the River is contaminated and once you take a contaminated seafood, definitely it gets to the food chain,” he explained.
Ideriah urged the Federal Government through the National Assembly to not only put in place necessary laws but to effectively implement such laws to the latter.
“It is a thing of development and therefore no well-meaning person will contest that these oil activities should stop,” he said but emphasised the need for adoption of international best practices.
These international best practices should be put in practice here also. What is obtained to make other developed places who are also oil exploiting and exploration countries live environmentally clean life should also be applied here,” he advised and wondered why a particular law could effectively work in such countries and not work here where they are operating similar activity.
“If a law is put in place, that law should also be implemented to the latter. There should be no question of short cuts because there are certain things you can’t caught corners without it telling on the system”, he continued.
Noting that we have some good laws because some of them were adopted  from some countries that have similar operations going on there and remarked that inefficiency in their implementations make them look as if they were different laws.
The IPS director accepted that quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is desirable for the nation and urged the National Assembly to pass the bill without further delay.
“There could be definitely a lot of proposals that were being made that would sanitise the sector, but we don’t know how effective these  proposals that have been made could be implemented. The first stage is for the bill to be passed because without passing it you cannot get to the stage of how effective the implementation would be”, he stated, stressing that whether they were playing politics with it would be know later.
The National Assembly, he said has committees to monitor its implementations but expressed hope that it would contain proposals geared towards sanitizing the industry.
Commenting on the institute, the Acting Director said, “IPS as the pioneer Institute for Environmental Studies in Nigeria, has done so much towards raising the standard and quality of environmental research in the region since its inception in 1982.
“The institute since its inception in 1982 has been living up to expectations especially in the Niger Delta. For example, the document that is being used in the whole of Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Environment. In 1991, the institute was part of the team that worked to put those standards that guide operations”, he said.
Some of the major goals of IPS, he said, are to raise the standard and quality of environmental research in the region and to ensure utilization of such research findings in sustainable environmental management and development.
According to him, IPS has achieved those goals through the delivery of world class environmental research studies and reports and cited instances with Environmental Baseline Studies for Establishments of Control Criteria and Standards against Petroleum related Pollution in Nigeria (RPI) report of 1985 and the Niger Delta Environmental Survey (NDES) report of 2000.
He said while RPI covers all spectrum of the environment, Air, Aquatic and Terrestrial, NDES is a regional survey covering the nine states of the Niger Delta and noted that both reports were world class by every standard and were widely referenced document.
He, however, regretted that inspite of the fact that it was the foremost in Nigeria  some of the companies and establishments that were beneficiaries of our studies have changed their policies to what you could describe as lowest bidder kind of thing so that the lowest bidder is given the study job,” he said, remarking that before it was not like that as it was based on recognition and capability.

Ideriah

Ideriah

Christ Oluoh

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Oil & Energy

Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price

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Petroleum marketers under the platform of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) rose from their 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week, within a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make dollars available at official rate to oil marketers.
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.

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Oil & Energy

Senate To Honour Brave Petrol Tanker Driver 

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The Senate has resolved to honour Ejiro Otarigho, the brave tanker driver who drove a burning tanker from danger zone to avert a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The Senate has also recommended Ejiro to President Muhammadu Buhari for National Honours.
This followed a motion moved by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and co-sponsored by Senator James Manager and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, at plenary.
It would be recalled that in a rare act of bravery, Ejiro had last week driven a burning tanker from danger zone to avert what could have been a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The incident happened last Friday when Ejiro drove the burning truck for 25 minutes from a densely populated area to Agbarho River where the tanker was completely razed in the inferno. The act was captured by onlookers and had gone viral.
Rising under Order 45 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2021 (as amended), Senator Omo-Agege stressed that but for Ejiro’s courage, a major fire disaster which would have claimed several lives and property could have happened in his senatorial district.
The Delta Central lawmaker noted that Ejiro’s “extraordinary display of courage, reflex application of special driving skills, and huge risk to his own life, prevented a huge national tragedy and catastrophe by driving a burning tanker loaded with inflammable petroleum products from residential areas to safety so that thousands of our people may not die in an inferno that would also have consumed so much property in Agbarho, Delta State on Friday, June 10, 2022”.
The driver’s audacious act of heroism, he stressed, has saved the nation from national tragedy and mourning.
Accordingly, the Senate resolved to “invite Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to the Chamber of the Senate for public commendation by the President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Lawan.
“Recommend Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, for a befitting National Honour as Mr. President may deem fit for his extraordinary act of bravery, courage and skill that prevented the loss of human lives and property on a massive scale”.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who presided over plenary, hailed the driver for risking his life to drive the burning truck out of residential area to save lives.

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Oil & Energy

Court Adjourns Worker Vs NLNG Matter To Oct

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The National Industrial Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Thursday, adjourned the matter on the defamation of character and unlawful termination of employment between a contract worker, Tambari Michael, and the Nigeria LNG Limited to October 25, 2022.
The judge, Justice Nelson Ogbuanya, said the adjournment was to enable the new counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu, to study the case before continuing.
Recall that the clamnant, Tambari Michael, a former contract staff of NLNG, had approached the court in 2019 to challenge the termination of his appointment by the Supervisor of NLNG’s Logistics, praying the court to declare the termination of his job as illegal and unlawful third party interference.
Michael in the suit number NICN/ PH/43/2019 claimed that displaying his name and image amongst persons accused to have committed criminal offensCes was defamatory, which, according to him, runs contrary to Section 4 of the NLNG Code of Conduct bordering on harassment.
Defendants in the suit are Nigeria LNG Limited, AUGJ Services Nigeria Ltd (the contracting firm) and Abimbola Ibukunle, the company’s Logistics Supervisor when the services of the claimant were terminated.
Other demands stated by the Claimant in the suit are “Damages be awarded to claimant against 1st defendant (Nigeria LNG Limited) and 3rd defendant (Mrs. Abimbola Ibikunle) for defamatory publication made.
“Damages also to be awarded against 1st and 3rd defendants for unlawful interference upon Mr Tambari Michael’s employment with AUGJ Services (2nd defendant).”
When the matter was called in the court on Thursday, counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu, who appeared in court for the first time, informed the court that he had just taken over the matter as counsel and solicitor to the claimant.
Speaking to newsmen after the court session, counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu expressed confidence that his client will get justice in the court but, counsel to the defendant declined comment.

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