The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), has said that it would no longer tolerate gas flaring from International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta region.
The new IYC President, Alaye Theophilus, stated this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday, while taking over the group’s leadership from his predecessor, Peter Igbifa.
Mr Theophilus’ statement came days after the House of Representatives said it would stop at nothing to recover over $9 billion gas flaring fines imposed by the federal government on erring oil and gas companies in the country.
The Chairperson, Ad-hoc Committee investigating gas flaring, Ahmed Munir, at a post-investigative hearing briefing in Abuja said, the National Assembly will recover all unpaid levies and as well as enforce compliance with extant legislation and regulations, Vanguard newspaper reported.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, shortly after taking over the leadership of the group, Mr Theophilus, an environmentalist, said gas flaring has posed environmental, economic, and health concerns for the people of the region for many years.
He said, “We are in an era where policies of the government are anti-Ijaw and undermine our collective contribution to national sustainable development.
“As president of the council, I will agitate for resource control beyond oil and gas. We have been undermined for too long.
“It is abysmal when our rich water bodies are abandoned, and we see ship berths in Lagos, when we have the best seaport in West Africa. What we keep hearing is that our environment is not safe enough, this must stop under my watch as president of council as we demand activation of our seaport.
“I must state it clearly that we will no longer condone incessant gas flaring and lackadaisical practices of the IOCs that has cost us a lot as a people. We shall strive to maintain the stability in the council and the Ijaw nation under my leadership.”
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, Mr Theophilus said over time the federal government has given various deadlines to IOCs to end gas flaring but that there had been no serious commitment to the issue.
He said the $9 billion gas flaring fines that the federal government wants to recover is not coming directly to the benefit of the people affected by the gas flaring.
“We are the people that are receiving the impacts directly. Farmlands and everything are highly affected but nothing to cushion the effect of the flaring.
“We are saying instead for them (federal government) to go towards that direction, let them (IOCs) stop gas flaring and adopt international best practices as they are operating in other countries,” he said.
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