By NBF News

THE National Assembly has been urged not to pass into law the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) having eliminated all clauses that seek to end to gas flaring.

A group, Social Action, said it considers the removal of the clauses on gas flare as a mark of insensitivity to the plight of the people of the Niger Delta on the part of the lawmakers, who are accused of promoting the interest of multi national companies, who have severally failed to take action to put an end to the practice.

Spokesperson of the group, Vivian Belonwu, explained that previous versions of the PIB, which were made available to civil society organisations by the National Assembly, clearly contained the clause, which seeks to end gas flare, which has now been eliminated.

She said previously, a meager sum was stipulated as fine for various quantities of gas flared, and previous legislation was to the effect of ending the practice by 2011, the passage of the PIB the way it currently is, would mean that oil companies are free to flare as much gas as they want without being held accountable.

'Any attempt by the National Assembly to proceed with the passage of the bill without addressing the issue of gas flaring with a view to ending the criminal practice, would amount to gross abuse of the right of communities to live in clean and healthy environment and would also cast aspersion on the capacity of the legislature to address the problems of Nigeria as a nation,' she insisted.

Belonwu noted that despite documented health and environmental dangers associated with the flaring of gas, the National Assembly would bend to pressure to pass this compendium of laws guiding activities in the oil sector without adequately considering putting an end to flaring.

She observed that for several decades, various administrations have made moves towards ending the practice, including setting target dates for complete flares out.   However, on all occasions, the multinational oil companies have found it expedient to proffer excuses not to eliminate the flares.

Belonwu said at various occasions the oil companies have insinuated that Nigeria's oil production would dwindle if the flares were put out.

This puerile logic, according to her, which has reared it pangs again causes concerned persons to wonder how other countries in the world that do not flare gas are able to survive.