…charges FG to ensure enforcement of gas flaring laws
By Lubem Gena, Abuja
The House of Representatives have moved to curb the prevalence of intensive soot and respiratory ailments associated with it, by charging federal government and its relevant agencies to embark on measures that would bring permanent solution to the menace which have persisted in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The House Committees on Gas, Niger Delta Development Commission and Healthcare Services were also enjoined to investigate and report back to the House within 4 weeks.
This was sequel to a motion on the need to curb soot pollution in the Niger Delta region moved on the floor of the House of Representatives by Representative Bamidele Salam on Thursday, 30th March, 2022 which also calls for enforcement of relevant laws and proper regulation of gas flaring.
Rep. Salam who represents Ede north, Ede south, Egbedore and Ejgbo federal constituency of Osun state invited the honourable House to “note that according to the United State of America’s Environmental Protection Agency, soot is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution, as it contains dangerous chemical substances that cause cancer and respiratory disorders.
The federal lawmaker expressed concern that a review of hospital records across the 23 Local Government Areas in Rivers State revealed that 22,077 persons who received treatment for soot-related conditions between 2014 and 2018 suffered respiratory ailments.
He was also disturbed that as of December 2020, Port Harcourt was reported as the most polluted city in the world, with an air index of 207, which is far above the standard and moderate levels of 0-100, thus making the city the most unhealthy for residents.
The motion was seconded by Hon. James Adisa Owolabi from Lagos state.
He also informed that since 2016 there have been complaints of soot pollution in the Niger Delta region which prompted the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike commissioned an investigation in 2018, and according to a report by the technical team, pollution was largely caused by illegal bunkering and gas flaring.
According to the World Bank gas flaring tracker report, Nigeria ranks among the top seven gas flaring countries in the world in the past nine years emphasizing that the situation has been aggravated by Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited, a Nigerian oil company that spilled oil and gas continuously into the Santa Barbara River for well over a month between November and December 2021.
The rest of his motion reads:
Also concerned that a review of hospital records across the 23 Local Government Areas in Rivers State revealed that 22,077 persons who received treatment for soot-related conditions between 2014 and 2018 suffered respiratory ailments.
Disturbed that as of December 2020, Port Harcourt was reported as the most polluted city in the world, with an air index of 207, which is far above the standard and moderate levels of 0-100, thus making the city the most unhealthy for residents.
Also Disturbed that the results of a lung function test carried out on 5 non-smoking people in the Niger Delta with no pre-existing medical condition and between the ages of 22 and 33 years old showed that none of the participants had normal lung function activities.
Aware that Section 20 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the air and land, forest and wildlife of the country.
Also aware that Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right, to which Nigeria is a signatory, guarantees the right of citizens to a sustainably satisfactory environment favorable to their development.
Further Aware that the Federal Government has ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and is a signatory to the Global Gas Flaring Partnership (GGFR) principles for global flare-out by 2030; Cognizant that in 2016, the Federal Government launched the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP) with the goal of eliminating gas flaring by the year 2020.
Worried that the Federal Government is far behind in its national flare-out target, which has aggravated the soot pollution in the Niger Delta.
Also worried that soot pollution put the lives of the exposed people at risk with children being the most vulnerable.