(Oct. 14, 2008) On October 7, 2008, the Nigerian Senate debated a bill that if passed would outlaw the flaring of natural gas. The bill requires the Minister of Environment, who will be directly accountable to the National Assembly on this matter, to revoke the license or lease on a field in which gas was flared. According to the bill, violators would be convicted of a crime and fined an amount equal to the cost of the amount of the flared gas in the international market. In addition, operators of the field would face a fine equivalent to half of that imposed on the person immediately responsible for the flaring.
The Nigerian Senate also debated a billon an Act to Establish a Desertification Control Commission. The bill provides that the Commission would be funded through ecological funds that the federal government would make available and through donations, gifts, and grants. According to the bill, the functions of the Commission would be:
- to carry out an extensive survey of the extent of desertification in Nigeria;
- to formulate policies and guidelines for control and management of desertification in the country;
- to conceive, plan, and implement, in accordance with set rules and regulations, projects and programs for desertification control and management;
- to adopt an integrated approach, addressing the physical, biological, and socio-economic aspects of the process of desertification;
- to integrate strategies for poverty eradication into the process, with participation of affected local communities;
- to promote the education and awareness of the local population about desertification;
- to ensure sound and effective management of the resources available to the Commission from the designated government funding account; and
- to facilitate, through international co-operation, the transfer of technology, knowledge, and know-how on the management and control of desertification.
(Senate Set to Outlaw Gas Flaring, ALL AFRICA.COM, Oct. 8, 2008, available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200810080252.html.)