Stakeholders in oil and gas sector have called on the Federal Government and oil and gas firms to intensify the use of necessary mechanisms to end gas flaring in their operational areas.
The call was part of a communiqué issued after the stakeholders’ workshop over the weekend on how to strengthen existing linkages between oil companies and host communities and government regulatory agencies in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The workshop, which was organised by Gas Alert for gas flaring as having serious adverse effects on communities and their sources of livelihood hence the need to end the practice in Nigeria as obtained in other climes.
The communiqué equally expressed stakeholders’ displeasure over continuous soot in the air noting that the soot has contaminated the air and the only sources of drinking water of the communities.
It said that there is urgent need to check the soot because of its far-reaching implications which pose a great threat to life of the present and future generation.
The stakeholders stressed the need for appropriate organs of government and oil operators to quickly address the concerns of host communities that have environmental degradation and health challenges arising from oil and gas exploitation.
The workshop which gave emphasis to communities in Gbarain/Ekpetiama Kingdoms of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State also called on oil and gas operators to speed up the signing of Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoUs) and urged communities to endeavour to be transparent in their dealings with the operators.
According to the communiqué, by so doing, there would be more cordial relationship between the oil and gas operators and the oil host communities and such relationship would boost peace and productivity.
Other areas also covered were the impact of the regulatory agencies, employment, scholarship, provision of social amenities and week feed-back mechanism between the stakeholders.
It called for better funding to regulatory agencies, noting that when properly funded by the government the regulatory agencies could be well equipped to carry out independent investigation on oil pollution complaints in communities without depending on oil operators for needed logistics.
The communiqué also called on relevant organs of government to make adequate provision for EIA documents to be accessible the host communities and for EIA process to be transparent to ensure active involvement of community stakeholders.
“Also oil and gas operators should carry out their activities and projects in line with the EIAs in a way that host communities are not left worse-off at the expiration of their operations.
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Author: The Tide