The British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Carter, said only a robust gas policy with strong legal framework could help the country harness its abundant gas deposits.
Speaking during a Climate Change Retreat organised by the Policy Advocacy Project Partnership on Climate Change recently in Lagos, the envoy said apart from supporting the country’s power growth initiative, right policy would provide the necessary framework that would ensure clement environment for operators to maximize and utilise the commodity for pure economic value.
The envoy disclosed that the monumental environmental degradation going on in the Niger Delta Region was as a result of absence of clear-cut gas policy to guide utilization of the product.
He absolved the multi-national oil companies prospecting oil in the region from blame on the vexed issue of gas flaring, stating that the country had not taken pro-active measures to address the issue.
Carter explained that even as the OICs flared the gas from oil fields, government should be able to identify key economic areas where it could be put into proper use.
He said companies from United Kingdom had been encouraged to invest in small electricity generating stations to help in gas utilisation efforts but wondered if present energy policy was capable of ensuring its availability.
The deputy high commissioner lamented the quantum of gas flared in the country, stressing that it could generate the money needed to provide infrastructure.
Speaking on the global climate change efforts, he acknowledged certain efforts initiated by government toward addressing climate change and reaffirmed his home government’s commitment toward assisting Nigeria to manage its challenges.
“The UK is keen to work with you in the public and private sectors in addressing the local challenges faced due to climate change,” he said.
He said one of the efforts was the sponsorship of a Nigerian delegation by the UK Trade and Investment to attend the Green Technology Roadshow in London where forward-looking Nigerian businesses were able to increase their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities of climate change.
“I’ve said that Nigeria is taking positive steps. But Nigeria shouldn’t just content itself with taking actions at home.
This is a powerful country with one of the strongest voices in Africa. The evidence you develop here and the practice that you adopt should be shared with other African countries,” he added.
Information from Punch was used in this report.