Posted by News Express | 13 June 2017 | 1,590 times
An Environmentalist, Mr Iniruo Wills, on Sunday called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to use executive order to declare December 31, 2017 as deadline for gas flaring in the Niger Delta region.
Wills said that Osibanjo could as well pronounce December 31, 2018 “the final irreversible deadline” for the gas flaring if there are genuine and compelling factors that could make the earlier suggested date unrealisable.
Wills said that an executive order was required to put an end to constant shift of gas flare deadlines since 1970s.
It would be recalled that the last deadline which expired in 2014 was shifted to December 31, 2020 by Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Wills, who is Homeland President of Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA), noted that there was an urgent need for comprehensive action to protect the environment, ecosystems and communities in the Niger Delta region.
The IPA leader maintained that such action should be devoid of the usual “culpable indifference” and “shallow steps” pretended so far by successive administrations and regulatory agencies like NOSDRA and DPR.
He urged government at all levels to take a holistic action to stop oil pollution, remediate communities’ waters and land and livelihoods, and penalise individuals, corporate executives.
Wills further advocated that individual regulatory executives who have allowed world’s worst continual oil pollution to be accepted as normal flare in Nigeria be sanctioned.
He urged the Acting President “to direct the Ministers of Environment, Petroleum Resources, Health and Niger Delta Affairs, to immediately initiate the conduct of an independent holistic study.”
“The study,” according to Will, “should be conducted by reputable consortium of experts and technical organisations including UNDP and the WHO to ascertain the cumulative environmental, health and socio-economic impact of oil and gas exploration on host and transit communities.
“The over 60-year long completely reckless ecological destruction of the Ijaw homeland and the Niger Delta from environmentally unregulated oil and gas exploration is possible only in a failed or fatally flawed national state.”
Wills urged governors of the affected Niger Delta states to “stop paying lip-service to protection of the environment as has obviously always been the case”.
He advised the governors to begin to make the protection of communities’ coastal environment their constitutional duty and sacred obligation to the Ijaw and the people of the region.
Wills further urged the Federal Government to empower, fund and order the relevant agencies to take quick and sustained measures to correct the behaviour of the oil and gas-producing and allied corporations.
His words: “The heavy mortal, health, economic and social costs of this prolonged state-ignored tragedy on our local populations is absolutely intolerable and constitute evidence of a grievous crime against humanity.
“The relevant international tribunals and prosecutorial authorities, including the ECOWAS Court and the International Criminal Court, have a both legal and compelling moral duty to deal decisively with.
“The apparent neglect and gross inadequacy of the Nigerian legal system and regulatory institutional framework to check this ecological terrorism makes it much worse for the hapless victim populations.”
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