Gas flaring, government policies and regulations in Nigeria : 2008, a myth or reality
Aghogin, Bemigho Victor
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The issue of gas flaring and the attendant environmental effects have become a common sight in the Niger Delta. Apart from being a wastage of natural resources, it is a menace to the global existence of man. The incidences of acid rain and the disruption of economic life of the locals, basically farming and fishing, have led to consistent and irresistible agitation by the people of the Niger Delta for an end to gas flaring. The consistent release of harmful gases through gas flaring, with devastating effect on the surrounding environment of the Niger Delta region is discussed in this work. This dissertation examines why successive governments have not succeeded in their quest for a solution to gas flaring; policies and regulations are not being effectively implemented, and why despite the fact that flaring has been outlawed in Nigeria since 1st January 1984, it is still going on 24 years after. Flaring continues unabated undermining the consequences it has on the people and the effects on climate change. Interviews and case studies were used to examine the factors responsible for the non implementation of government policies and regulations, and why the consistent extension of flare-out deadline. Countries with outstanding results were examined in order to draw a baseline for the Nigeria situation. The research revealed that the Nigerian government has not enforced environmental regulations effectively because of its interests in the business of the multinationals. In addition there has been the dependence of environmental monitoring and regulatory agencies on government funding. This has drastically affected the proficiencies of the control and the insignificant penalties imposed on companies that flare gas. The need for government to play the role of an umpire rather than business partner with the multinationals is therefore of paramount importance. It is also pertinent that the regulatory and monitoring agencies be independent of government's supervision. More stringent measures, (ranging from more cost per a thousand standard cubic feet of gas flared to closure of platform(s) and/or outright withdrawal of license), should also be put in place to serve as deterrent to erring oil companies.
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