Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Al-Kanemi, have allayed fears that the protracted insurgency in the Chad Basin will hinder oil exploration there.
They spoke on the heels of the flag-off of oil drilling campaign in Wadi-B prospect, Chad Basin, Tuba Community, Jere Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who flagged off the drilling campaign virtually, noted that crude oil and gas exploration activities had been ongoing in the Chad Basin since 1976, as well as the discovery of some commercial gas at Wadi-1 well in 1985.
He, noted that active drilling activities were suspended in 1995 “to enable re-evaluation of exploration activities in the entire frontier basins.”
In July 2017, some officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited alongside some University of Maiduguri lecturers were killed in the Magumeri Local Area by Boko Haram insurgents while undertaking research projects concerning Chad Basin oil exploration.
Zulum, who attended the presidential flag-off of the resumption of oil and gas drilling campaign on Tuesday, thanked the NNPCL for the resumption of the exercise in spite of mounting complaints from many quarters about the persisting insecurity in Borno State.
The governor stressed that “Security problems are all over the country and they should not, therefore, hinder any project execution.”
Also, the Shehu of Borno said insecurity was not peculiar to Borno State and should not be a reason to stop Chad Basin oil exploration.
The traditional ruler said, “There is insecurity everywhere across the country now. So, you cannot say that because of insecurity, you cannot execute any project.”
He stressed that “insecurity is everywhere in Nigeria, not only in Borno. For example, everywhere across the North-East, there has been cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal conflicts, but development projects have to continue.
“You cannot, therefore, say that this oil drilling project cannot be actualised because of insecurity.”
In his virtual address, the President said, “The flag-off signals the resumption of physical exploration of crude oil and gas in the Chad Basin. I look forward to a successful drilling campaign through the collaborative efforts of NNPC, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, the security agencies and the people and government of Borno State.”