Environment Minister, Rivers woo investors to stop gas flaring
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has called for investment in the country’s gas economy to stopping gas flaring.
Abubakar made the call in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during a roundtable with stakeholders on environmental issues in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister said the Federal Government is concerned about ending gas flaring as it ‘is a big challenge to the national economy and the health of Nigerians.
He stated that the government is now more concerned about harnessing gas to stop environmental pollution.
The Minister explained that the objective can be achieved by bringing in investors to partner government to channel the gas into electricity, create jobs and tackle flaring.
According to the Minister, “Government is calling on investors to partner with us to achieve this objective. Trust me, it can start this now, in two to three years, gas flaring will be a thing of the past. We are concerned because we are losing while at the same time polluting our environment.”
“Looking at the 2030 deadline, it is a long time. But we are looking at stopping it sooner before that time.”
On the Ogoni cleanup, Abubakar said COVID -19 pandemic slowed down the process but noted that the government was strengthening and collaboration to ensure that the exercise is carried out next year.
Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Igbiks Tamuno, lamented that gas flaring increases daily, damaging the environment and killing the people while the Federal government keeps shifting the deadline to end the menace.
He said the Niger Delta region bears the brunt of the flaring activities, tasking the government to develop the political will to stop the ugly trend.
He said: “We cannot be talking about biodiversity, climate change in this region without stopping gas flaring, which is very peculiar to the region. You cannot remove gas flaring from the issues affecting the environment. But, sadly, they keep postponing the deadline. Five years ago, gas flaring was to end by 2020. While 2020 approached, there was silence. Now, they are talking about 2030, and nobody knows if they will not shift it again.”