Adamu Abuh, Abuja
Faults planned flare-for-cash policy
The Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, has alleged the diversion of N432 billion ecological funds between 2011 and 2015.
He also faulted the flare-for- cash policy recently unveiled by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu,
Ojo, who spoke during a national environmental congress with the theme, “Inclusive Natural Resource Governance within the Change Mantra,” in Abuja, said it was unfortunate that the authorities have not brought the culprits to book.
He alleged that the ecological funds were diverted to other uses by some former state governors.
The ERA/FoEN chief lamented that despite cheap revenue from oil, vast agricultural lands, solid minerals spread across the entire landscape, the country has found itself in a cul-de-sac due to resource mismanagement, corruption, lack of foresight, total disregard of the environment and the relegation of local communities and their source of livelihood to the background.
Ojo, who stated that the proposed flare-for-cash policy was illegal following a 2005 high court judgment, which has not been appealed or repealed till date, stressed: “Flares for cash is a false solution. Ending gas flaring has been a moving target with over a dozen times and government demonstrating less than feeble attempt at enforcement. Government requires the political will to act to contend with corporate impunity and maintain our national sovereignty.
“While corruption thrives, the environment suffers. The Federal Government flagged off the clean-up of Ogoni communities but nothing has been heard. There is no holistic plan and no fund from the initial $1 billion has been released. The entire Niger Delta clean-up would require $100 billion. Shoreline communities are sinking. Tremors are more frequent. Whole communities have lost their ancestral homes to erosion. The Sahel is losing its flora thereby driving the herdsmen southwards.