Tells DPR to publish data on gas flare fines and how they were shared

Policy Alert, a non-governmental organisation working for improved economic and environmental governance in Nigeria, has called on the federal government to come up with a derivation formula for sharing gas flare revenues so that the penalties can be deployed to assuage the pains of those bearing the brunt of gas flaring.

The organisation called on the Department of Petroleum Resources,(DPR) to publish historical data on gas flare penalty payments by companies operating in the Niger Delta since 1984 and how the gas flare fines paid to the federal government by defaulting companies were shared among states.

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Iniobong Usen, the organisation’s Programme Lead, Open Data and Extractives, made the call during a chat with journalists at a workshop to mark the 2020 International Open Data Week, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

Usen said the data are to empower communities that are directly affected by the impact of gas flaring make demands on relevant agencies to be accountable with the funds received.

“To enable us have a clearer picture of the damage to these communities and also to empower communities to make effective demands, the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) should publish historical data on volumes of gas flared since the prohibition in 1984, how much penalties it has received for gas flaring by companies, and how much losses government has incurred due to its inaction on this matter each year since then” Usen said.

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He added: “ You cannot be killing Peter to pay Paul by sharing the gas flare penalties to every federating unit in Nigeria, oblivious to the reality that communities close to flare sites suffer untold hardships as a direct consequence of their exposure to these flares, that people are dying and livelihoods are being destroyed especially in the Niger Delta.”

Usen called on the DPR to furnish Nigerians if it was still committed to the 2020 Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership deadline on gas flaring.

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“If Nigeria as a member of the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFP) has abandoned the 2020 deadline and is now adopting the 2030 World Bank-driven flare-out date, we should know.”

The International Open Data Day was marked across the globe on March 7, 2020.

A statement by Policy Alert says it organised the fireside chat on Tuesday to call attention to the need for citizens to increasingly use data from public budgets and the extractive sector to demand accountability from government and companies.