Chairman, the National Executive Council of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Mr Ede Dafinone, on Thursday, called on the Federal Government to put an end to gas flaring in the country.
Dafinone, in Lagos, said that sustained gas flaring in the Niger Delta Area had caused untold damage to the environment.
According to him, the affected communities are always illuminated by gas flares, even at night.
“l do not think that there is any other country in the world where gas flaring is done on such a large scale.
“Sadly enough, gas is a valuable resource that is being wasted.
“It will be beneficial to us as a nation to channel this useful `waste’ (gas) into a business where the gas, being flared, can be accumulated for our domestic use or export.
“This is important, especially in Nigeria where we don’t have sufficient energy,’’ he added.
Dafinone bemoaned a situation in which deadlines for the cessation of gas flaring had continuously been shifted.
He said that anywhere a sanctions regime favoured less stringent penalties and fines, offending individuals, companies and organisations would always prefer to pay fines.
He, however, conceded that he was not aware of the nature of the fines imposed on oil companies for gas flaring or if they were even paying any fine at all.
“Since gas flaring still exists, it means it is cheaper or more convenient for the oil companies to pay fines for flaring gas than stopping it.
“The penalty or fine to stop people from committing an act is always graduated; at the initial stage, it is small and put on record as a warning.
“The fine is increased yearly but after five, 10 and 15 years, the penalty is properly set. In that case, it would be in your benefit not to flare natural gas again.
“If that is the case, l am sure that the oil companies would have stopped gas flaring a long time ago,’’ he said.
Dafinone, however, said that it was expedient to have useful alternatives to gas flaring, adding that the nation and affected communities would be better off if gas flaring was totally stopped. (NAN)