Governor Mohammed Abubakar has paid a visit to assess the level of progress in the exploration of petroleum which resumed recently in the Benue Trough and Chad Basin as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and expressed confidence that with the political will and sincerity so far demonstrated by the Federal government in prospecting for oil and gas in north, socioeconomic activities will soon spring up “when Bauchi finally joins the oil producing States”.
Speaking before being conducted round the exploration site by in Alkaleri local government, Governor Mohammed Abubakar explained that revisiting the issue of oil exploration in northern Nigeria over two decades after it was initially abandoned as a result of “high powered politics that prevented the State from enjoying the benefits of being an oil producing State while its people are languishing in abject poverty”, was one of the milestone achievements of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is commendable that the APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took this bold step to resume prospecting for oil in the north, particularly now that hostilities occasioned by the activities of insurgents have continued to destabilize oil production in the Niger Delta region”, the governor said.
“It is baffling that in the Chad and Niger parts of the Chad Basin commercial quantity of oil has been discovered and is being drilled, only for us on the Nigerian side of the basin to be told that there is no hydrocarbon. I believe strongly that with renewed commitment and serious political will discovery would soon be made that oil and gas abounds in Bauchi State,” the governor said when he received the Group Managing Director of NNPC who paid him a courtesy visit in October last year to announce the resumption of oil search in Bauchi State.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar told the GMD that “Bauchi State welcomes the Federal government’s renewed effort to prospect for oil in the Gongola Basin that includes Bauchi State and we are very confident that oil abounds in commercial quantity in this part of the country. We look forward to celebrating its discovery soon”.
Addressing members of the host community after inspecting the sites, Governor Abubakar who hailed the commitment of the Federal government to the oil prospect by embarking on “more rigorous exploration using the most modern technology” assured them of immediate payment of compensation to communities where the exercise is taking place and urged the people to desist from selling their farmlands.
Speaking through the General Manager Exploration after the governor was taken round, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr Maikanti Kachallah Baro told the governor that the host communities have been cooperating with the NNPC since the resumption of the oil search.
Dr Maikanti Kachallah Baro who, during the last year’s visit had wondered why only two wells were drilled the area that falls under Bauchi State to conclude that the oil was not in commercial quantity, explained that the resumption of search for oil and gas was informed by a directive of President Buhari to resume the exploration, especially since the black gold has been successfully discovered in commercial quantity in neighboring countries of Chad and Niger.
In this renewed effort to prospect for oil in the Gongola Basin, Alkaleri, Ganjuwa, Darazo and Misau local government areas of Bauchi State fall under the area to be covered in Bauchi and Gombe States.
Oil exploration started in Alkaleri local government during the administration of late General Sani Abacha was abandoned in spite of reported presence of hydrocarbon just after drilling two wells, which were blocked by the oil prospecting firm in the Kolmani area.
Abubakar Al-Sadique, is Press Secretary to His Excellency