Short Bread {Poem}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Her heart was bought with short bread some years back
when love was administered under the shades of moonlight
the dark was the toast and witness of a burning passion.

Pear and fruits were the best of gifts to woe her tendril heart
with few words laced with inconsequential statements
each understood what the other verb-oozed
and passion was as holy as the sacrament of cathedral attendees.

Many bodies pulled down the bush paths and farms
in a quest to taste the woven honey comb
when seeing a lad and lass together was characterised by sin.

Parents frowned at such company, lads and lasses
were separated in the classrooms but not their hearts.

The dignity of a lady was held in highest esteem
men climbed mountains against their dignity for her
and love was later crushed on the altar of civilisation
and now, short bread cannot win her heart but short cut.

*Odimegwu Onwumere*

May 16 2019

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*Deformity* {Poem}

*Deformity*

Not only the blind
Not only the cripple
Not only the armless…
Are deformed.

Pix of a lad with Complex Spine Deformity {Culled online}

Some wish they have big boobs
Some wish they have big phallus
Some wish they have big eyeballs
Some wish they have big buttocks…

When you are rejected
By what nature gave to you
You are deformed.

Some wish they have small boobs
Some wish they have small phallus
Some wish they have small eyeballs
Some wish they have small buttocks…

When you are not comfortable
With what you have
You are deformed.

Some have good looks, without wisdom
Some have wisdom, without good looks
Some are leading, without followership…

When lack one think or the other in you
Remember that the deformed
Are not only those not walking the way you walk
Are not only those not seeing as you see
Are not only those not using their head as you use…

Always remember the word Deformity and be humble!

*Odimegwu Onwumere*
May 13 2019.

Gas Flaring: How Nigerian Authorities Deceive With Prohibition Bills, Deadlines

Over the years, Nigeria has misled the world with its ineffective gas flaring prohibition bills and deadlines, ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE writes

Nigeria has been flaring gas since the 1950s in the Niger Delta, where Co2 and several pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere at will by the multinational oil companies. In order to halt the illicit activity, in 2016, the Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill was on the table of the Senate for consideration for possible channel into law. Checks revealed that among other things, the Bill was geared to prohibit gas flaring in any oil and gas production operation, blocks, field, onshore or offshore, and gas facility treatment plant in Nigeria. The source revealed that the Bill was formulated to relate all over Nigeria and by extension to the Exclusive Zone, Free Trade Zones, land in Nigeria, under the territorial waters of Nigeria, amongst others. In March, 2017, the Bill passed second reading at the Senate. By Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the Committee thereafter invited industry stakeholders and the general public to a public hearing.

Not even the increase in gas flare penalty to $2 per 1000scf by October 2, 2018 could deter the multinational oil companies in carrying out this reprehensible act of flaring gas. By January 31, 2018, the FG, through the then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun accused oil companies of not paying stipulated gas flaring penalties, amounting to loss of revenue in billions of dollars into government coffers.  Meanwhile, on November 2, 2018, report in major national newspapers in Nigeria but especially the Vanguard titled Senate ready to pass gas flaring prohibition bill – Lawmaker” had the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Sen. Bassey Albert as saying that the Senate would pass Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill before the end of that year. According to the source, “Sen. Bassey Albert, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, on Thursday said that the Senate would pass the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill before the end of the year.”

Can this statement be relied on as the many prohibition bills earlier put in place did not see the light of the day? While the lawmaker misled Nigerians with that conceited statement that never came to pass in that year, Bassey’s other statement of final stopping of gas flaring by 2020, can also, not be relied on given that authorities in Nigeria have had different deadlines in the past that later became a tall dream. In the subsequent lines that will follow revealed why such statement cannot be relied on. Meanwhile, this is what the report said of Bassey in ending gas flaring by 2020: “Albert expressed the National Assembly’s support for the 2020 final elimination of gas flare.”

#Misleading date to pass gas flaring prohibition bill

The declaration that the gas flaring prohibition bill would be passed before the end of 2018, did not hold in that year till April 17 2019, when the Senate passed the bill to prohibit gas flaring in Nigeria. On the ground to pass the Bill, the lawmakers had inter alia posited, “The bill seeks to ensure that natural gas shall not be flared or vented in any oil and gas production operation, block or field, onshore or onshore, or gas facility which shall commence operations after the commencement of the Act.”

Given the above, it’s a confirmation that the authorities in Nigeria are misleading the citizens (with their Bill to stop gas flaring) who are suffering the brunt of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, like benzene, toluene, xylene and hydrogen sulphide, as well as carcinogens, like benzapyrene and dioxin that are dangerous chemicals experts say are associated with gas flaring. These chemicals, according to sources, can cause cancer, blood leukemia and other dangerous ailments.

#Many Failed Propositions: Why Gas Flaring Has Not Been Stopped – According To Data

Oil and gas companies in Nigeria have not ended gas-flaring because they see zero per cent gas-flaring as a mirage, given the feeble approach government at all levels had exhibited in tackling the debacle as follows:

  1.  “Looking for a way to curb this menace, in 1969, General Yakubu Gowon as Head of State, allegedly allowed oil operators a five-year ultimatum within which to bring to a halt gas flaring, but never did.”
  2. “The Supreme Court of Nigeria, in 2005, described oil-flaring as illegal, having formally banned it in 1984 and declared it “unconstitutional”. Yet, figures show that companies on the delta did not stop, but have only reduced to flaring 10 per cent since 2007.”
  3. “Expectations by Nigerians were high, but dashed when the December 31st 2012 deadline given to oil exploration companies, by the National Assembly, to end gas- flaring in all the oil fields in Nigeria, was not heeded.”
  4. “But government apologists were either warning that why should there be what they termed “all the noise” about stopping gas flaring in the country, when, according to them, a country like Russia was pinnacling the rest of the world as the highest emitter, upon that she was ranked as a developed country.”

#Eye-service Approach…. Still On Data

  1. “By Friday, March 25, 2011 the Federal Government had set agenda for ending gas-flaring, and unveiled what was regarded as “ambitious $10 billion gas revolution” and to create 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

The Federal Government made this disclosure during the formal launching of the Gas Revolution in the country. So they said, “it signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU): one, between Xenel and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the other among India’s Nagarjuna Fertilisers, NNPC and Chevron; as well as the award of the Akwa Ibom/Calabar area gas central processing facility (CPF), to Agip and Oando in Abuja – winners of the bid.”

As part of its efforts in ending this illegality of gas flaring, media reports of November 1, 2012 believed that the Federal Government might shut oil fields, even if it meant a loss of revenue. A director at the Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr Osten Olorunsola, apparently said then: “One of the things we are doing is to do some analysis for government, to such an extent that it will even mean a proposal to shut down fields to avert huge gas-flaring. We will probably make that position known to government very soon.”

According to a report in the newspapers on Monday, March 4, 2013, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke had said that the country had a “new target” which was not to bring a total end to gas-flaring, but to meet 22 per cent of gas-flaring reduction by 2017, which was characterised as “on the short-term.” This statement came when a report by the World Bank showed that gas-flaring continued much to aid climate change, among major oil countries.

#Nigeria, Not A Serious Country In Ending Gas Flaring

By December 6, 2017, the Federal Government discovered 178 gas flare sites across Nigeria. According to data, this was against the general speculation of 140 sites. The outcome might not have been made public if not with the efforts of the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Canadian government.

A Programme Coordinator of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in that year, Mr. Justice Derefaka bared his mind in Abuja, at the Gas Buyers’ Forum, organized by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria, stating that at least, the government had received 60 per cent data of survey on gas flaring sites.

Gowon had pointed out in 2011, how Nigeria had lost her leading role in Liquefied Natural Gas production to countries such as Qatar and Australia. “Last year, this country flared over 460 billion standard cubic feet of gas that, if processed and exported, would have fetched the country over $2 billion and minimised the health and environmental impact of gas flares,” Gowon had said.

This claim had the support of a Bureau of Public Enterprises’ study, which estimated Nigeria’s losses to gas flaring at between $500 million and $2.5 billion a year. Gowon noted, “Think of how the oil palm industry left Nigeria for Malaysia. Think of how athletics – we won gold in Sydney (Australia) in 2000 – left Nigeria for Jamaica. And, worst of all, countries we started out with in the LNG business have all left us behind.”

In the period under review, while Qatar’s production had moved from 20 million tonnes to the range of 80 million tonnes and Australia was also targeting 80 million tonnes, Gowon seemingly maintained, Nigeria’s progress was stymied: “All the LNG projects on the drawing board in Nigeria – LNG Train Seven – will only add 30 million tonnes to our national output, which is not that much when compared to Australia, which has only 60 per cent of our reserves.”

Nevertheless, report of May 1 2017, said, “Nigeria loses $850m, 3,500MW of electricity to gas flaring.” By February 12, 2019, the FG was accused of failing to show the necessary commitment needed to end gas flaring in the Nigerian petroleum industry.

According to data, “This was the view of former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Mr. Ransome Owan and other experts at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, also agreed that there is lack of commitment, but exonerated the Federal Government, while it indicted domestic gas buyers, especially the power sector for the slowdown in deepening gas utilisation in the country.”

#Conclusion: When Will Gas Flaring End In Nigeria?

On November 17, 2016, a Harrison Declan who said he’s a lawyer and Editor, Energy Law Review, from Lagos, published an article titled “What Gas Flaring Prohibition bill will achieve.” Declan pointed out the following in his treatise:

  1. It is worthy of note that this is not the first attempt to legislate on gas flaring in Nigeria. In 1979, the Associated Gas Re-injection Act was enacted. The Act, in the main, prohibited gas flaring and fixed the flare-out deadline for January 1, 1984.
  2. This was not to be, as the deadline was subsequently moved to December 2003, then to 2006, to January 2008 and then December 2008. Also, on July 2, 2009, the Senate passed the Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill 2009 (SB. 126) into law, which fixed the flare-out deadline for December 31, 2010.
  3. The Petroleum Industry Bill fixed it for 2012. The Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill 2016, which is, in many respects, a reproduction of the 2009 bill, has also fixed the flare-out deadline for December 2016…
  4. Finally, while we had hoped for a single piece of legislation for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the lawmakers seem to be thinking differently. First it was the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, and now the Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill. In the end, whatever legislative approach is deemed most suitable is welcomed, provided there are effective mechanisms for enforcing the legislation, because in the end, the efficiency of laws is determined not from their content but from their enforceability.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

One Good Turn They Say, Deserves Another

By Odimegwu Onwumere

I was in Umuako, Nsirimo, Umuahia, Abia State, to witness the planting to the soil, a 78yr old matriarch, who passed on.

The date was April 27 2019. I went to the burial, not in my appearance, due to the insecurity in the country. When the commercial bike I joined at Ubakala Junction dropped me at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in this town, the crowd was much. On sighting me, my host was ecstatic. Water was first given to me. Others is a story for another day.

Getting a bike back to the Ubakala Junction, was a tug of war. One came, and a woman, who should be in her 50s, secured it. As she was about leaving and got to where I stood, she asked me to join her. “Getting a bike here is not a tea party,” she friendly approached me. I couldn’t imagine sitting on that bike, but on a second thought, I obliged and we zoomed off.

I supposed the woman was a financially rich person. She showcased this when we got to a place where she asked the biker to veer, to enable her buy some items for her household.

When she finished buying, we got to Ubakala Junction, where we would get a vehicle to Aba. I took the position of the man I am and paid the biker, for her.

Our few discussions later, made me to understand, she is a lawyer and resides in Aba. She dressed very decent and I had presumed, she was a teacher. Good manners laced with virtue, were her signage.

At this junction, commuters were much. It was difficult to get a vehicle. When one finally came, there was beehive of rush, and I was able to secure a seat.

But while I looked at the woman, I saw a woman who was almost exhausted. Then I asked her to take my seat while I wait. Wow! She lavished “God bless you on me” and the car zoomed off.

I waited for hours later, yet there was no vehicle in place. At this point, I conducted a supplication to the Four Cardinal Points to send me with a vehicle. Lo and behold, one state-of-the-art car was approaching, flashing its headlights. I least expected that such a car was for us, passengers. It later parked some metres away and commuters rushed. I walked up to it, not expecting anything. When the polished man driving the car, he should be in his late 60s, sent the front door glass low, a man who was not neatly dressed held the door to open it, the man thundered that he stopped for me and not for the guy he said was a street urchin. At this point, pressure was on him from the commuters to assist them. He made some persons he said looked like me, to enter. I was on front seat.

He sped off. The AC in this choice car, watered down the peril I had faced under the scorching sun. It was a ride. We finally got to Osisioma, Aba, from where I would be heading to Port Harcourt. We gave the man N300, each. We were four in number. I came down and while closing the door, I thanked him and he beamed smile, in his rich looking self. Now I remember the woman, wishing I could see her, to narrate this story to her. Well, I whispered to my Subconscious Mind, saying, One Good turn, deserves another.

*Odimegwu Onwumere*
April 27 2019.

Niger Deltans Suffer Wrecking Disaster Of Indiscriminate Gas Flaring While Govt Maintains Lip Service

Nigerian authorities have had incessant failed policies outlawing flaring of gas in the Niger Delta region, the hub of Nigeria’s economy. The consequences of this are the health, human rights and environmental challenges the residents are suffering; and the culprits of these woes – multinational oil companies – do not pay the fines leveled against by the government, ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE unearths 

Gas flaring in the Niger Delta has become a recurring nightmare to the inhabitants despite lukewarm policies implemented by the successive governments that were tepidly executed.

“Due to unsustainable exploration practices, coupled with the lack of gas utilization infrastructure, we flare more than 75 per cent of the gas produced and re-inject only 12 per cent to enhance oil recovery,” authorities have said.

Not minding a judgment dished out by the Federal High Court of Nigeria in November 2005 against the practice that violates human rights, oil companies in the area still flare gas with reckless abandon.

The judgment which took place in Benin City, Justice C. V. Nwokorie ruled that the practice is illegal because, as according to him, “the damaging and wasteful practice of flaring cannot lawfully continue.”

Residents of Niger Delta witnessed, in 2010 alone, how over 3.5 billion cubic feet (100,000,000 m³) of related gas produced in the Niger Delta, 2.5 billion cubic feet (70,000,000 m³), or approximately 70 per cent were flared in the atmosphere per annum. What happened in the Niger Delta in 2010 in term of gas flaring, as according to those who know better, equaled UK’s total natural gas utilization which was put roughly at 25 per cent and 40 per cent of Africa’s gas ingestion in 2001.

This was affirmed by the authorities recently, “While statistics may not be accurate, the quantity of gas flared in Nigeria exceeds over 40 per cent of the gas flared annually across Africa, which amounts to about $7 billion in waste, apart from economic waste being a consequence of gas flaring.”

Our reporter learnt that what the Niger Deltans have come to live with, in the name of gas flaring, contains, “nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, like benzene, toluene, xylene and hydrogen sulphide, as well as carcinogens, like benzapyrene and dioxin.” And 755 million SCF are flared each day, specialists say.

These are by-products of flaring. The irony is that the flared gas is situated within residential areas, with health specialists not smiling, when they inform that Niger Deltans are prone to sicknesses such as leukemia and other dangerous blood-connected diseases.

Represented by Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ibn Bala Na’Allah President, while proclaiming open a public hearing on Gas Flaring (Prohibition) Bill 2017, Dr Bukola Saraki said, “Apart from economic waste being a consequence of gas flaring, flared gas is also known to contain toxic substances, which cause respiratory diseases and air pollution, leading to depletion of the ozone layer, and ultimately having an adverse effect on weather and climate.”

The senate situated its spirit high on June 1 2017, carving a niche over the 39-year-old law, which recommends only N10 as fine for gas flaring. Saraki added, “The issue of gas-flaring in Nigeria is a matter of great national embarrassment. We have no reason to continue to flare this precious resource God has endowed us with. This bill, therefore, seeks to make provisions for the prohibition of the flaring and venting of natural gas in any oil and gas production operation in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith.

“Gas-flaring is as old as the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria. While it remains a global environmental malaise with attendant environmental consequences, we must move with the rest of the world to seriously put an end to it. Gas flaring is not inevitability…”

In many occasions, the Federal Government (FG) had boasted that it would revoke licenses of oil firms over gas flaring. But this is a tall dream. In May 2018, at the 2018 Buyers’ Forum/Stakeholders’ Engagement organized by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria, GACN, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu reiterated the FG’s make-believe boast to commence the revocation of the licences of oil companies that fail to stop flaring of gas in their operations in the country.

On November 1, 2016, the Obinna Chidoka-led House Committee on Environment and Habitat in the House of Representatives had warned oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region against continuous flaring of gas, saying it had subjected the lives of residents in the area to serious health hazards. According to Chidoka, “It is also established that 950 total recorded incidences of oil spill occurred in 2015 with a volume of 47,775.49 barrels impacting 595,800 square meters.

“Out of this, only 27.78% were cleaned. In 2016, so far 499 spills have been recorded, the record stated that 28,543.69 barrels were spilled covering 595,800 square meters areas of impact.

“Further available statistics in 2015 shows that Addax Oil company recorded two incidents of spills, AP Moller 2, Chevron 14, Conoil Producing Ltd 2, Mobil Producing Nigeria 63, Agip 71, NPDC 10, SEPLAT 8, Shell Petroleum Development Company 28, among others.

“Subsequently in 2016, a total incidence of spill indicates that Agip has 43 recorded spills so far, Mobil Producing Nigeria 26, Shell Petroleum Development Company 18, Chevron 8 and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company 9.”

Specialists however finger Benzene as the major causative factors of terminal health problems, like cancer, due to it is one of the hazardous chemicals that circulate with flaring. Meanwhile the same House of Representatives that once sued for end of gas flaring double-spoke on August 6, 2018, through member representing Sagbama-Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Mr Fred Agbedi, saying that gas flaring in the Niger Delta region cannot be completely extinguished, as being talked about.

As the House Committee Chairman on Gas, Agbedi said that the reason for his views was that oil companies needed to smolder some amount of gas in the course of crude oil adventure and production. According to him, “The Federal Government is taking few steps to see how gas flaring can be reduced or eliminated. And that is why it is also coming out with policies of offtakers of the gas that is being flared.

“Once the contracting of gas flare to offtakers is concluded, there will be companies which will take the flared gas which will largely reduce gas flaring. But the fact remains, you need some quantity of gas to be burned for the production to also take place.

“Even when the offtakers are taking what they are supposed to take as quantity of gas that is being flared, there will be some kind of industrial flare that is going to take place for the process of exploration of crude oil to take place.

“You cannot completely lock it down. What the Federal Government and the world over are aiming at, is to reduce gas flaring to such an extent that it no longer causes challenge to the environment and the atmosphere. That is what the government is working towards and it will take some time to get that sorted.”

When this was not working, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on November 26, 2018, when Course 41 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, led by Major-Gen. Felix Edafioghor in Asaba came to his office on a courtesy visit, called on the FG to put stringent measures in place to end gas flaring in the country, no matter the language some persons and groups use to justify the prohibited practice.

According to the governor, “Stopping gas flaring will be so much better for our people because the flared gas has already destroyed the environment, not just the natural habitat in terms of farming. It has also polluted very badly the air that we breathe.

“Only God knows the level of damage that it has caused and we believe that the laws must be implemented in such a manner that gas flaring is not just tied up to fines. This is because, as long as gas flaring is tied to fines, the oil companies begin to realize that it may be cheaper or easier to pay the fines than to stop the flaring of gas. Then, we obviously are not discouraging them.’’

Gov. Okowa further stated, “I am aware that a lot has been done in the last few years, but there is a lot more that can be done because the gas that we flare can generate a lot of income for the oil companies if only it can be properly utilized. So, we must stay on our laws and ensure that we do what is right and stop tying the issue of gas flaring to fines.

“This is because continually tying gas flaring to fines is injurious to our people and our environment… This has also been worsened by the regularity of illegal bunkering activities that take place in the state in which a lot of damage is done to our environment. The damage constitute both agricultural and health hazard to the people.’’

How to remedy the situation is one problem besetting the FG, which on December 6 2017, had said that it discovered 178 sites where gas were being flared. This was against the general speculation of 140 sites. The outcome might not have been made public if not with the efforts of the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Canadian government. A Programme Coordinator of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in that year, Mr. Justice Derefaka, bared his mind in Abuja, at the Gas Buyers’ Forum, organized by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria, stating that at least, the government had received 60 per cent data of survey on gas flaring sites.

Notwithstanding, while speaking at the 2018 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum, OLEF, organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Maikanti Baru said Nigeria was losing N868 million daily, and 700 million SCF were being flared as gas which opinion leaders said were capable of generating an equivalent of 5,000 megawatts of electricity per day. According to the source, “Using an average of $4 per 1,000 SCF of gas and at exchange rate of N310 to a dollar, the flaring of 700 million SCF per translates to a loss of N868 million daily to the country.”

Perhaps, seeing that the citizens were not comfortable with her many failed promises on ending gas flaring, Nigeria dished out a rather misleading statement that she had reduced gas flaring by 26 percent in the last 10 years. Yet, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Gas flare Deputy Director and Head Upstream, DPR, Mrs. Pat Maseli stated at the 10th annual Sub-Saharan Africa Oil and Gas Conference in Houston Texas, US, that 3,500 megawatts of electricity was lost as a result of gas flaring and no fewer than 55 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) was also lost, while 25 million tons of carbon dioxide was emitted within the period under review.

Whilst observing the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja, in February 2019, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Mr. Ransome Owan and other experts were not pleased with the development. They frowned at the lack of commitment, especially on the part of the domestic gas buyers for their nonchalant approach in the area of utilizing gas in the country, but especially the power sector. Against this backdrop, checks revealed that majority of the oil fields in the country lack infrastructure to handle gas, hence the promotion of gas flaring.

The experts indicted Nigerian authorities for their lame-duck approach in evacuating gas to Ghana and other countries along the pipeline through West African Gas Pipeline and supplying gas to Europe through the proposed Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project. This has remained a farfetched venture and initiative.

The Programme Manager, National Liquefied Petroleum Gas Expansion Plan, Mr. Dayo Adeshina shows concern over the immense gap in LPG supply in Nigeria, crying that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, in the modern age, still supplies LPG to three main terminals in Lagos, while a large proportion of LPG consummated in the country is done by roads to remote locations.

In its renowned bigheaded tactics, government in May 2018, had promised to end gas flaring by 2020, but this is also towing the line of its foot-dragging policies. For instance, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru had said that a three-point strategy was in place to zero flare.

He said at the 50th Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, in Houston, Texas, the United States of America that, “Total flares have been significantly reduced to current levels of about 800 million standard cubic feet per day, MMSCFD, and in the next 1-2 years we would have completely ensured zero routine flares from all the gas producers.” Meanwhile checks revealed that companies that flare gas are yet to submit Field Development Plans, FDPs, to the Department Petroleum Resources, DPR, being the industry regulator.

The source said, “NNPC supplies about 3.6 billion standard cubic feet, SCF, of gas daily to the NLNG, while it supplies about 1.3 billion SCF of gas to the domestic market daily, which would sometimes be utilised and sometimes ignored.”

Whatever that happens to fair play, the sad side of all the illegalities of gas flaring in the Niger Delta is that oil companies do not pay gas flaring penalties, hence their slapdash behaviour amounts to loss of revenue in billions of dollars that should have been in government coffers. The then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun cried out this in Abuja in January 2018, saying that the companies are taking advantage of the wording in the permissible framework which orders charges instead of penalties for gas-flaring.

In her words, “What do the international oil companies do? They flare; they pay the charge on which they get tax relief. That’s just bad drafting. The government is approaching lawmakers to amend the law and have the word ‘penalty’ replace ‘charge’. Just that one word has potentially cost us billions of dollars.”

Recently, residents in the Niger Delta took with a pitch of salt the increment in punishment by government for gas flaring to $2 per 1,000 average cubic feet of gas, SCF, from N10 per 1,000 SCF of the product flared. The move by the government was contained in a document titled ‘Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018’, made public on October 1 2018. The residents taking the government unserious was aftermath of many policies on gas flaring that have not hold water.

Their point is that they have been enduring a long history of gas flaring since 1950s that crude oil was discovered in the area. Apart from health issues they suffer as a result of gas flaring, they also experience rusty roofs, acid rain and environmental degradation. Despite what they are enduring, many of the communities in the area do not have potable water even as their main sources of water – creeks and rivers – have been deviously polluted with oil spillages.

Our investigations from Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State to Tombia in Yenagoa Local Government Area to Gbarantoru to Angiama in Southern Ijaw council area to Ogoni in Rivers State to A’Ibom Eket, Esit Eket, Eastern Obolo, Ibeno, Mbo and Onna local government areas in Akwa Ibom State to Owaza in Abia State and so many others, reveal that the residents cannot sleep at night.

Some of the residents finger Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, as the arrowhead for their woes because of the multinational oil company’s non-stop gas flaring that also cracks their houses. Especially, residents of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC Integrated Gbarian/Ubie Gas congregation facility weep without consolation. It is believed that in 2017 alone, over 200 people died in Niger Delta monthly.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. WhatsApp: +2348032552855. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

By Odimegwu Onwumere

One of the canons my grandparents and the entire Onwumere Dynasty set as a system-of-belief when I was growing was, you must chew your words before using them. Some persons, who do not observe this creed, were said to have unbridled tongue (ona ekwu orighoro onu). They are still around today.

I grew up with this and people that know me today would attest to this training in my life. Some say that I do not probe into issues affecting me, whether I am right or wrong. Others say that I am a very quiet person. They say a lot of things — a recluse, introvert. In short, they say that books have retarded me.

I have heard a lot of things. But one thing remains sacrosanct with me, I have the inner peace not minding some punches on my mind, on how to be who I have always wanted to be, without knocking on the neighbour’s door for help. Well, onye ka ozuru? the Igbo would ask.

While I endured what was taken then as a harsh training from my grandparents and my people, it is paying off today when I look around, how people behave and talk anyhow, without any form of maturity. The worse is betrayal in the name of politics or another.

People no longer have shame. Remember that it was as a result of the same training like my grandparents’ that made Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi (26 June 1926 – 29 July 1966) not to abandon his friend, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who had arrived in Ibadan on July 28, 1966 to address a conference of natural rulers of Western Nigeria but was assassinated by, according to Wikipedia, the revenge seeking counter-coupists led by Major T. Y Danjuma on July 29, 1966.

If it were today, Fajuyi would have abandoned Ironsi on the premise of politics just as a Gbenga Daniel, a Nigerian politician and ex-Governor of Ogun State from 29 May 2003 to 29 May 2011, according to the source, making him the longest-serving governor of the state, has abandoned Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the lucre of material acquisition.

Daniel was of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation in the just concluded 2019 presidential election. Today, Daniel has barefacedly genuflected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) without any expression of shame, except his unbridled tongue on how he would pull his supporters to his new party.

My grandparents and their contemporaries did not read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” authored by Dale Carnegie before they inculcated values and integrity in us.

We had a concept which was our way of life before we derailed to believe that one can do whatever that pleases him or her and after, should go on his or her knee and ask for forgiveness. We showed integrity before people in every of our conducts because of the immediate consequences that evolved around us then.

After reading the famous book by Carnegie in 2010 as an adult, I remembered my grandparents for their hyper-sincerity in every of their conducts. They shared whatever that could be shared with their contemporaries without reservation. Gossip was not in their dictionary and they hardly criticize or condemn people. They did everything possible to win the affection of their beloved ones and people from far and near, by showing honest and sincere appreciation and in so doing, people flocked around each other without a blink. There was love!

Today, love is dead. And people do not know how to win people around them anymore, because they are not genuinely interested in other people. They do not value their fellow human beings, even when you are very honest and sincere to them.

Amongst many things that Carnegie taught me is that, I should show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.” How many people care about this in the modern times? We have people who don’t care how they hurt you with their gutter words and statements. Theirs is to open their mouths and see words running out of them.

We have many people who do not admit they are wrong immediately and ardently. They hardly begin a conversation with you in a friendly way and they are not sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. Carnegie strongly warns against such behaviour.

Have you not read a famous quote by Thomas Carlyle which states, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men”?

To sum this piece up, Carnegie says — On dealing with people — “let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

It is hoped that mankind would learn that, “If there is any one secret of success, says Carnegie, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

Let’s learn how to influence people with kind words, right attitude, and eschew pride and vanity that make people talk to people carelessly. I remember my great grandparents a lot!

Odimegwu Onwumere is a multiple-award winning journalist based in Rivers State. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Atiku: Buhari’s Bootlickers Say All That Hitler Did Was Legal

By Odimegwu Onwumere

An immeasurable axiom states that to make crime pay, become a lawyer. This could be what is playing out in Nigeria where Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s move to the Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential elections has been condemned by some lawyers. The worst is that they have been lengthening their unsolicited advise to Atiku through the mainstream and social media to refrain from going to court. They also have said that he would face untold hardship at the court.

Buhari and Atiku

These lawyers have offered their dim-witted advise without allowing the court to decide the fate of Atiku. No. From calculation, they invariably do not pity Atiku but mocking the porous legal system that he would see or they are behind the scene supporting whom Atiku wants to challenge in the court. They want Atiku to chicken out for the exaltation of Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for their obvious marooned interest.

Some of the lawyers are in the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). They forgot that the Buhari they were defending had during the years he lost in presidential elections of 2003, 2007 and 2011, taken his cases to court. It is therefore ethical for Atiku to head to court having the right to do so and it is right to do.

There is nowhere in history where an innocent man is condemned for the praise of the guilty. This is very appalling in Nigeria where men are bent to telling lies for the singular purpose of their stomach. It is aplomb to state that SANs do not make law but the authority which in sane climes is the occupation of the constitution and not political party’s decision.

We are talking of the safety of the people both at the economic, political and social level which are no longer guaranteed under a Buhari government given the untold bloodshed here and there recorded under his leadership which were characterised by Fulani herdsmen. The records are there.

The highlight of Atiku going to court is to make the law respectable since he has shown that he has obedience for the law and this is the foundation of such a renowned business man.

Buhari as a leader, his obedience to lawful authority has been in doubt. An instance is Sambo Dasuki, who upon many court orders directing for his release, Buhari has paid a deaf ear to lawful authority as the judiciary. One Nnamdi Kanu came out of dungeon under Buhari government through the whiskers upon law order to the contrary. Yet, Buhari’s bootlickers invariably remind Nigerians to understand that all that Hitler performed in Germany was legal and right. Hooey!

If there is sound legal system in Nigeria, those advising Atiku not to go to court should know that no one has a monopoly of wisdom and truth. At every meeting place which the court is not different from, progress can only be attained when participants listen to each and are also given a fair ground to do so. What those advising Atiku should do is to remind Buhari of a statement credited to Plato, which states that (sic) Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens. Does justice reside in the heart of Buhari? Many Nigerians doubt, because certain degrees of his actions were laced in autocracy even though this is democracy.

In Nigeria, the duty of the government has become to interfer in every aspect of businesses for the purpose of self-centeredness. The government here does not leave legal pursuits to the judiciary without interference. The recent removal of a Chief Judge of the country is a case study. And you wonder where fairness which was supposed to be the real essence of justice is.

Atiku going to court is a fight against segregation in justice equation in the country where fairness is given to some party loyalists but opposition parties should go to hell. Atiku is not going to court to listen to what lawyers will tell him but what justice has in its coffers. It is very bad that in a country when government holds a legal monopoly and recruit touts to scout for who should go to court or not.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com