By GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN— Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, yesterday, said that Nigeria loses more than $2.5 billion through the flaring of associated gas annually.
Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of HOMEF, also noted that no fewer than 300 Nigerians were killed and two million others displaced during the unusual heavy flooding in different parts of the country in year 2012.
Bassey lamented that Nigeria has contributed to the climate crisis through its over dependence on fossil fuel for power generation and transportation.
He added that “the routine flaring of associated gas releases millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere apart from being a major waste – with at least $2.5 billion worth of natural gas going up in smoke annually.
“It is also causing major health problems and acid rains as well.”
Speaking at a workshop organised by HOMEF, an Ecological think-tank, he regretted that deadlines set for halting of gas flaring in the country have remained nothing more than a mirage, noting that in recent times, the government has not even bothered to set deadlines anymore.
“In fact, the draft Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB,had December 2012 as a deadline while at the same time gives the Petroleum Minister the latitude to set the deadline for when the criminal activity would cease.
“We believe that a minimum step government has to take to show commitment to securing the future of our country and the planet is to compel the offending oil companies to obey the laws of the land by halting the obnoxious practice,” he said.
He attributed the floods experienced in the country to the reality of climate change, noting that “the shrinkage of Lake Chad gives an indication that climate change is a contributor to the increasing phenomenom of water stress and climate refugees as well.”
Disclosing that apart from Nigeria, over 530,000 people were displaced in Niger Republic between July and September, he added that thousands were displaced in Mali, Uganda, Chad, Kenya, South Africa, Somalia, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Mozambique, among others, fdue to the floods of last year.