NIGERIA SEEKS EU SUPPORT TO END GAS FLARES
Nigeria has again expressed determination to end gas flaring in the Niger Delta, saying it was committed to a cleaner environment in the country's main oil and gas producing region.
It, however, solicited the support of the European Union to prevail on multinational oil firms operating in the region to comply with global best practices.
Special Adviser to the Nigerian President and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon Kingsley Kuku, made the appeal at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, during a meeting with the Development Committee.
He said: 'Every oil multinational in the Niger Delta flares gas. In some communities, the site is close to the homes of the people. When they talk, the military and the police are there. These things must stop. President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to stopping such practices and that is why he is tasking the people who understand these problems to solve them.
'I'm using this opportunity to appeal to the leadership and members of the European Parliament (as well as) your committees concerned with issues of underdevelopment in sub-Sahara African and in particular Niger Delta, to bring to the fore the unhealthy practices of the oil and gas industry in the region.'
Kuku commended the facilitator of his visit and president of Rotterdam-based Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), Comrade Sunny Ofehe, for his commitment to issues on the Niger Delta and the environment, urging him to remain undeterred.
The government is yet to give a fresh deadline to the oil firms to end flares. Previous administrations had been compelled to shift the deadline at the last minute due to pressure from the oil multinationals and their home government.
Nigeria, the sixth largest producer of crude in the world, flares the highest amount of natural gas in sub-Sahara Africa.
Kuku restated his appeal to the parliament to look into the issue of travel advice by European countries. He reasoned that it was deceitful to prevent their citizens from visiting Nigeria when companies that they have stakes in were raking in millions of dollars from the country.
'We need your very honest support to keep the pressure on our behalf; partner with us in the European Union. The United Kingdom is the greatest culprit on this issue of travel advice and it is gaining more than others in Nigeria,' the presidential aide said.
He also charged the EU to investigate how its development projects are sited in Nigeria, saying the Niger Delta has been completely left out.
'There is no single EU project in the Niger Delta. For instance, the region needs water projects because of the pollution of the aquatic environment. The oil companies have polluted the rivers that our people drink from. So, there is no drinkable water in the area. But when you site water projects in Lagos, Kaduna or Kano leaving out the Niger Delta, it is lopsided,' he said.