Otuaro And His Trustworthy Lifestyle

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro is a man that can be trusted, especially in this era, where and when some governors and their deputies, political Godsons and Godfathers, political allies and friends and sundry are in loggerhead.

Delta State Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro

Observing the steadiness in Otuaro, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on April 16 2019, described Otuaro as a competent man, during the occasion marking Otuaro at 51.

Okowa, who was on leave during the period under review, also commended Otuaro who was acting governor, for the salient role he played in the ‘Smart Agenda’, which was geared to ensure immeasurable peace for oil production in host communities.

As Chairman of Peace Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism in Delta, Otuaro believes that it is nice to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in any endeavour, but the paramount thing is for people not to make promises they cannot keep. This is the reason, if Otuaro is set to do or not do something, he moves in the direction of his mind.

In the modern times when men derive pleasure in making promises they knew they would not keep, Otuaro, on Sunday, June 30, kept his promise to his people of Okerenkoko community, Gbaramatu Kingdom of the State, by donating millions of Naira and complete football kits to Amaseikumor cup champions – Okerenkoko community team that won the competition and Oporoza, that came second.

Otuaro who holds Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Ibadan, after graduating from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said truth to power in Warri. It was at the end of a two-day conference (of a body set up to halt the destruction of oil assets in the state by Okowa in late 2015) on securing oil and gas facilities in the state on January 15 2018 that Otuaro said, not even the arsenal of military deployment would guarantee the safety of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

With Otuaro, said analysts, the summit drew over 500 participants, including chief executives, top officials of oil and gas companies, top government functionaries, National Assembly members from the region, traditional rulers, community leaders, local council chairmen as well as representatives of the youths, women and security agencies.

This was even as Otuaro told journalists after the state government emergency security meeting which had Mr. Zanna Ibrahim as State Police Commissioner in attendance in Asaba on March 12 2017, saying that “no effort will be spared in bringing criminals and their sponsors to book.”

It was Nelson Mandela who was quoted as saying, “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” During Otuaro at 51, a congratulatory message from the governor, signed by his chief press secretary, Charles Aniagwu, stated, “On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta State, I wish to felicitate with my amiable deputy governor, a party stalwart and leader of inestimable value on the occasion of his 51stbirthday anniversary celebration.

“You have been a worthy and dependable partner in our quest to ensure peace and security in our dear state and I must place it on record that you and your team in the Peace Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism in Delta state contributed largely to the peace we enjoy today in the oil and gas industry in the state.

“Your life symbolizes diligence, humility, perseverance, focus and dedicated service and this explains why your people of Warri South West local government area and Deltans overwhelmingly voted us back for a second term, to continue in our quest to build a stronger Delta of our dream.

“Your Excellency, your indefatigable role as the deputy governor of our dear Delta State has contributed to the remarkable and modest achievements recorded by our administration and I thank God because, with your continued partnership and that of entire Deltans, better days are indeed here for our people.

“I join your family, friends and well-wishers to thank Almighty God for His continued guidance, protection and provision for you in the past 51 years of a life of forthrightness, outstanding patriotism and service to humanity with which He has blessed you. Happy birthday, my brother and friend.”

Echoes from Delta State appraising Otuaro, he knew that a leader’s first and last job is to enthuse trust that will arouse confidence of the led around such a leader. Checks revealed that Otuaro has espoused trust as the only way he can convey astonishing results in a permanent way while working with Okowa whose facial mien is characterized by gentility, affability, wisdom, learnedness and sundry positive miens.

Otuaro celebrates the importance of trust, building competence, exhibiting leadership traits by example, putting in line the Okowa government’s purpose to show ultra-competence by empowering people, and championing the welfare of humanity in Delta state and by extension across Niger Delta. It was because Otuaro is a man of trust that his God put him in the position he occupies today. Left for Otuaro, he hadn’t the premonition that he would be deputy governor, not even with his so many university qualifications.

At the 21st Ijaw Day of Prayer, Praise & Thanksgiving organized by the Delta State Chapter of Izon Christian Fellowship in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, he said, “My ascension to the post of Deputy Governor is the handiwork of God. I had never at anytime wanted to be but God did it. God break protocols. It is because of God’s wisdom in some of our traditional, religious and political leaders that come together to lift up their holy hands in praising God.”

Today, providence did not make a wrong choice in Otuaro in assisting Okowa to funnel the state of affairs in Delta to what calculators have described as enviable height. It was the trust Otuaro wears as a garb that Okowa described him in his letter to the House of Assembly to hand the joystick of leadership to Otuaro in the cause of his leave, as an upright man.

Okowa wrote, “I send warm greetings to the Right Honourabe Speaker, and write to intimate the Honourable House, that I would be proceeding on 15 days leave which will form part of my 2017 annual vacation from Monday, June 26 to Wednesday, July 12, 2017, while the remaining part of my annual leave will be enjoyed later in the year.

“In accordance with Section 190 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, His Excellency, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, the Deputy Governor of Delta State, shall perform the duties of my office as Acting Governor during the period of my absence on leave.

“I will greatly appreciate if the foregoing is placed before the Honourable House for information. Please, accept the assurances of my high regard and best wishes for you and the Honourable Members of the House.”

As many people have said that Okowa is performing in Delta, without a doubt, such performance is due to the trust Otuaro and Okowa had for each other, which has led to high-performance. It will be expedient to say that trust builds confidence in persons, groups and organizations, to show rare performance.

Professionals say that trust cripples dysfunction. Since trust is Otuaro’s name, Okowa has nothing to fear, but to deliver better outcomes, as both of them work in harmony to improve leadership and democracy in Delta State. Given the above, it is breathtaking how Otuaro, who is also a deacon of Christ Embassy, has garnered the trust of so many people, who now learn from his repeatability and accountability. He has shown seldom ability in his quest to make mankind happy and of great consequence, for the Okowa government to succeed.

Odimegwu Onwumere, who WhasApps at 08032552855, contributed this piece via email: apoet_25@yahoo.com


Mr. Biggy {Fiction}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Mama cries each time she is reading the newspapers but we wouldn’t know why she does that. The paradox is that she puts on black clothing, sits at the corner of the parlour with a black pen, and ticks the newspapers. We often ponder to understand why she does that, but the answer keeps eluding us.

Obese man {Culled online}

The significance of the colour – black – in our house is inscrutable. The walls, chairs, floor and almost everything in our house, are painted black. Mama would pause while reading, raise her head and gaze at the ceiling. She stays that way for minutes before returning to read and continue ticking her newspapers.

Whenever she leaves looking at the ceiling, she reads with maximum concentration, like our Muslim neighbour, who was praying one day and his food was burning in the kitchen. He didn’t care to stand up and clean his kitchen of the burning food, upon pandemonium which neighbours stirred to do so, till he was through with his prayers.

This is how dedicated Mama is to her newspapers. She does not even allow any of us to see what it is she ticks. After reading with tears wetting a better portion of the newspapers, she would go to her bedroom and hide the newspapers.

We became worried about Mama’s strange behaviour and complained to Uncle Ibe, her only surviving brother, who resides in the neighbourhood. One hot afternoon, Uncle Ibe visited our house to ask her why she cries when she is reading the newspapers.

Mama never budged to respond to him, even when Uncle Ibe persisted. He is sweating profusely now, perhaps due to mind-numbing hours he has spent questioning Mama, and there is no electricity for the fan and the hope of it is farfetched.

Uncle Ibe resurrects a popular comment always made by people which is, fat people are pronto sweating. He is very fat and anyone who does not take a proper look of him can mistake him for an eight month pregnant woman. For this, his friends and admirers nickname him “Mr. Biggy” (a colloquial word we use in our environs to describe anyone who is excessively fat).

I am in turn referred to as “small biggy” because they say I look very much like him. Uncle Ibe’s bosom friend, Psychologist Nawata, tells people that Mr. Biggy is our uncle’s identity and he relates with it ultimately. Of which he does. But sometime, some persons cajole Uncle Ibe by their connotation in addressing him, yet he does not get angry, but avoids such people with his strength.

Psychologist Nawata makes it known that we all have identities and it is needless to insult each other because of how nature made them. Some have theirs through association, or any other thing, says Psychologist Nawata. He gives an instance that in the USA., where he practiced for three decades before returning home to drag ancestral land, people identify themselves as “Americans”.

“Americans is a collective identity,” he says. “Each of them has their personal identity.”

Psychologist Nawata says that individuals identify themselves as male or female, brother or sister, employee or employer and so on. “Not what you know only qualifies one as having an identity,” he says. “It is also how you know something that qualifies one to have identity and again, identity changes over time.” He advises us that we should not have poor self-esteem, but should be like his good friend who is proud as Mr. Biggy.

For real, Uncle Ibe does not have a poor sense of self-worth. Whether people are persuasive or not at him, he does not care. He plays down to accomplish laughter in people. He is in control of his life, although he eats too much and this habit does not go well with Mama, who always warns him of his asymmetrical eating habit. He persuades Mama to tell him why she cries, but she will not.

When Uncle Ibe saw that Mama was not giving in to his persuasion, he begins to tell us of an epic story. It is a story of how our forebears founded remote hectares of virgin land and established in them hundreds of thousands of years ago, which is the town where we reside today. Our elders have hidden this story from the younger ones for years, because they did not want us to feel bad of our history, for fear of stereotype from people in the surrounding environs.

“It was my mother, in her propitious manner, who told me that we are not aboriginal owners of our town,” Uncle Ibe says. This revelation came at a time migrants were drowning at the Mediterranean Sea and we wonder whether Mama cries because of it.

A woman living in the next flat to ours, Mama Chude, also cries whenever she is reading the newspapers. She is called after her child, Chude. At least, we know why she cries: because of the drowning migrants who are mainly Africans, wanting to cross the sea to Europe. Majority of them are asylum seekers and economic migrants, and they experience unfriendly treatment in many of their host countries.

With this, when Uncle Ibe told us that our forebears were migrants, we unanimously concluded that we are all migrants and this is our identity, no matter the name given to it: be it regular or irregular migrants. We are part and proud of our history.

Hours have gone by he has been questioning Mama and he is unsuitable for her now. She left for her room. We are amazed as she left, because we had thought that it was only Uncle Ibe, whom Mama would listen to. Disappointingly, she did not. What formed our opinion was that he is her only surviving brother out of four that had passed away as a result of sickle cell anemia at a tender age. Uncle Ibe was expected to die at nineteen: the age his brothers died. But he is forty-seven now with a wife and four children. His children are not sicklers. Conversely, people know their father and they are addressed as “Mr. Biggy’s Children”.

As Mama refused to tell Uncle Ibe why she cries always when she is reading the newspapers, he left in anger. We are not happy as well given that we wanted to understand the reason Mama cries. While we are brooding, echo of “Mr. Biggy! Mr. Biggy!!!” rent the atmosphere of the neighbourhood. We hear Uncle Ibe’s voice reciprocating to their thunderous ovation for him. He usually thumbs up at his callers and says, “I’m Biggy, you are smally!”

Children like him so much for this and follow him up and down anywhere he went. Uncle Ibe’s body frame makes him lose his privacy. He does not walk the street without being noticed. If one person sees him and shouts “Mr. Biggy!” the whole street will be aflame with “Mr. Biggyyyyyyyy!”

Mama is sleeping in her room and did not lock the door. I sneaked in to check where she hid the newspapers. My mind skips anytime she turns or makes some chirpy sounds. I searched for the newspapers from one of her box to another, they are not there. I gave up the search and was about to leave when I saw a heap at an edge covered with rug. I went straight for it, lo and behold, there are the newspapers. I flip through one, two and many others. I found out that Mama ticked issues pertaining to obesity and fat people. I did not need a soothsayer to tell me that Mama is crying because of her brother and the identity tag from people. Now, Mama rolls from one side of the bed to the other, and I stealthily left.

When Mama wakes up and notices that her newspapers had been tampered with. She summons all to the parlour. Not bright looking, she asks, “Who went to my newspapers and what did the person see?” The identity in our house is that we do not lie. When Mama repeated her statement the second time, I own up. “I’m the one, Mama,” I say. “I saw that you marked obesity related stories and I am wondering.”

Mama’s look is horrific, askance. She gazes into the thin ceiling, returns her gaze and asks us to listen attentively. “We have a history of sickle cell,” Mama says. “Ibe is not my only brother; those before him died as a result of sickle cell anemia and the only surviving brother is obese.” This is the reason Mama marks obesity related stories in the newspapers with curiosity, we guess.

Mama says that her fears are that obesity is taking over smoking and around the neighbourhood, there are severely obese children and the number is on the increase. She is shedding tears now when we heard “Mr. Biggy” renting the air outside. We know that Uncle Ibe is coming. Mama wipes her tears with the back of her left hand. She pretends as if nothing happened even though we can read the pains long years of her thinking about obesity, her brothers, has caused her. As Uncle Ibe comes in, we greet him. I look at him and myself and it dawns on me that I will be like Uncle Ibe when I am of his age but can only survive if I listen to what Psychologist Nawata teaches.

Psychologist Nawata teaches that obese people can combat the problem if we look at our mental and physical health to avoid depression, watch what we eat and exercise. This can benefit posterity. At this point, Uncle Ibe asks Mama why she cries whenever she is reading the newspapers; she did not say a word but enters her room. Uncle Ibe left our house in anger and vows never to come to Mama for this again. I bend down in rumination of my life, hoping that I will follow the rules outlined by Psychologist Nawata, in order to evade future tears from Mama.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. He founded ooreporters.com

Nigerian Junk Houses Recurrent Collapse

Houses collapse in Nigeria without a gap of time leaving many killed and others with degrees of injuries, and government policies on this are better not imagined let alone hoped on, ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE writes

Building collapse has become a frequent occurrence in Nigeria with authorities paying lip service to arrest the situation. There had never been stringent punitive measures and policies that could spur building engineers and regulatory bodies to wake up from their aged-long slumber. The successive governments in Nigeria are best known for setting up Commission of Inquiry to look into the root cause of the collapse, which dies immediately it’s set up. Statement that could follow such make-believe commission would be, “Federal and state agencies are investigating the cause of the collapse of the building”.

Such lackadaisical policies that the Nigerian Government operates had held it back not to prod into action and demolish a three storey building housing a school, at Itafaji, Lagos Island that was marked for demolition since 2014, till it killed over 20 pupils on March 23 2019, with over 100 trapped. Moved by the tragedy, the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), a regulatory body in the state where the incident occurred, stirred to demolish 180 affected buildings around the area. The body barefacedly traded blame that they would not understand why property owners were unconcern to bring down their marked houses, having been served notice to do so, dating back to 2013.

It did not meet the eyes why authorities could not go after such building having found them ineffective. On Monday, March 25 2019, barely two weeks for the bubbles of the collapsed school building to settle, a two-storey edifice collapsed in the middle of the day at the same Lagos Island. Another side to the story was that no one died given that occupants of the building had noticed its junk nature and exited their apartments. This building had also, been marked for demolition by the Lagos State building control agency, few days before it collapsed.

While no death was recorded in the two-storey building collapse, no fewer than 34 people were killed on 8 March 2016, when a five-storey building under construction in Lekki District, Lagos, collapsed.  Death was also the fate of 115 people, when a guesthouse that was situated inside the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) property in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos State, collapsed on 12 September 2014. It was noted that the National Emergency Management Agency (NAMA), supposedly withheld information pertaining to the incident but this singular act, earned them condemnation from the citizens.

Without a doubt, junk houses sprinkle Nigeria but they are majorly in Lagos, the country’s former seat of power. This trend of building collapse started happening like every day event, after the country got its independence from Britain in 1960. Notwithstanding, reports from the authorities suggested that many of the buildings exceeded the number of allowed floors, but property owners connived with corrupt government officials and exceeded approved plan. Some government agencies like the Nigeria Building And Road Research Institute (NBBRI), the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), and the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), had warned against inadequacies in building construction.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. He founded ooreporters.com

What laws would Lawan promote as President of 9th Senate?

By Odimegwu Onwumere

As the Yobe North lawmaker, Senator Ahmed Lawan has emerged President of the 9th Senate, crossing the margin of 54 votes needed to win the election today, June 11 2019, there are little things we need to look into.

Senator Ahmad Lawan {President of 9th senate}

It’s not about defeating Senator Ali Ndume of Borno-South senatorial district who polled less than 28 votes, with 109 Senate seats but only 107 were present at the inauguration. It’s not about the jubilation by APC senators, as Lawan garnered 79 votes.

While this treatise was not meant to debase the success of Lawan or uphold the failure of Ndume, one thing we should consider is whether the senate would be independent referring to the three tiers of my elementary study of government: Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

I’m not sure why some people were jubilating that the emergence of Lawan would become the death of Biafra, PDP, but “Up, Up, Up for Buhari”. Whatever this means. Some believed that with Lawan’s win some anti-corruption laws can be passed.

Some of the people who believed in this were of the view that the senate which Dr. Bukola Saraki was its president carpeted such laws. How true is this notion? Remember that Saraki separated the senate from the executive and this does not mean that he was opposed to Rule of Law. No.

I think Saraki wanted a senate where Due Process was supposed to be sacrosanct, and not buying into Buhari’s fascism in a democracy. Or, as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo once put it when he held sway as President of Nigeria — “Do or Die” politics.

While congratulations were renting the air for Senator Lawan, we must not fail to congratulate with Senator Ndume for his autonomous mind.

Ndume was stoical and never allowed himself to be pushed around. He was accommodating not to be a ‘yes boy’ in the house. The later is where the fear lies with the emergence of Lawan as senate president. Is he going to be a ‘yes boy’ or independent minded like many have given the later to Ndume?

 Let us believe that Lawan will keep to his campaign promises that the budget would be passed within 3 months in each year. He also promised that the budget would run from January to December in each calendar year. Lawan also promised that he would promote anti-corruption, anti-unemployment and restore the economy laws.

Nigerians have heard of such promises in the past that later turned bogus. It is not about this win but about the senate becoming independent which was how it should be. Let us pray that the laws Lawan will be interested in passing not be those of Fulani herdsmen and the Miyetti Allah’s move to recolonise Nigeria by planting Fulani across the country. In a nutshell, let’s pray that the Senate under Lawan will not be an additional-room of the Buhari presidency, which was not what the senate under Saraki represented.

*Odimegwu Onwumere*

June 11 2019.

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

*Deformity* {Poem}


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