By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Sister States of Bauchi and Gombe have tendered a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to mount pressure on the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to as a matter of urgency commence oil and gas drilling in their domains.
Oil and Gas which have been discovered in the two adjoining states, and confirmed by the NNPC to be in high commercial quantities, have since the discovery of the two wells at the Kolmani River 1 and 11 at Barambu village of Alkaleri Local Government Area been abandoned by the company.
Chairmen of the Associations of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) Bauchi and Gombe states, Hon. Yusuf Garba Alkaleri and Barrister Abdulahi Mohammed Inuwa made the appeal in separate interviews with journalists in Bauchi.
Hon. Yusuf Alkaleri argued that exploration for oil and gas in the state, especially in his Local Government Council, would not only boost economic activities of the country, but also create jobs for the states in the north-east zone.
While noticing that the commencement of the much awaited drilling would see the two states joining the leaque oil producing states in Nigeria, Alkaleri said, “With the discovery of oil and gas in the Gongola Basin of Benue Trough, we are grateful to God and to President Muhammadu Buhari for their support in ensuring the discovery of black gold in our areas”.
“We seek to get the support of the Federal Government so that pressure will be mounted on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to see to the the exploration of the oil and gas deposits available in Bauchi, and the wider Gongola Basin is encouraged so that economic activities will be triggered, our people will have jobs and Bauchi will join the league of oil producing states,” said the ALGON chief.
Alkaleri noted that though certain procedures need to be followed, it would be extremely good if the Federal government hastened the exploration since oil and gas were discovered in large commercial quantities in the Barambu river areas of Bauchi state.
He commended the NNPC for the payment of compensation to people whose farmlands were affected during search for oil blocks in the area, saying however, “We need to start selling the oil to boost the nation’s economic activities and create more employment opportunities for our youths.”
Alkaleri further expressed gratitude to the State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed for the provision of conducive atmosphere and other amenities in the area, citing schools, hospitals and other social amenities needed for the smooth takeoff of the oil business in the area.
The Gombe ALGON chief, Barrister Abdullahi Inuwa on his part, said that three oil blocks were discovered in the area and called for acceleration of production in order to boost its economic activities.
Inuwa Gombe stated, “Three oil blocks were discovered in the area. We need President Buhari and the Federal Government to build even small modular refineries and start digging the oil in the market in order to boost economic activities”.
He appealed to the NNPC to pay compensation to owners of farmlands affected by exploration activities in Gombe State, saying some farmlands with the crops planted on them were destroyed by heavy duty vehicles used in the course of exploration activities in the areas.