The Beeb reports that there is increasing pressure the Nigerian government to stop burning gas flares ("Nigeria court action on flaring"). You see crude oil is so much more profitable than natural gas for petrol companies in Nigeria that rather than install facilities for developing gas, they pipe it up in stacks for burning in the open air.
My father taught at the University of Port Harcourt for a time in the late eighties, and I spent a good amount of time there (though I was a student at the University of Nigeria further North in Nsukka then). You could see several gas flares around just from the campus, especially at night, and it wasn't too far a drive to hear their loud hiss and crackle. It was a horrible sight, but one that one unfortunately became used to. I can't imagine how much environmental damage has been wasted over the years the flares have been burning, how much waste of potential resource. It's just a disgrace. And it doesn't just affect those of us who have some connection to the area.
Nigeria flares the most gas in the world. Campaigners say it creates more greenhouse gas emissions than all other sources in Sub-Saharan Africa combined.
I hope that some of the renewed pressure will force the government and its crony Western petrol companies to stop this practice. If the Nigeria gov is looking for a good way to spend the 18 bill it just scored, or its chunk of the Big Bucks for Africa that American presidents have come into the habit of supporting (1, 2), it could hardly do better than research and development related to avoiding waste of natural resources as exemplified by burning natural gas away into the hot West African troposphere.