North Oil Drilling: We’ll Not Follow Mistakes of Niger Delta — Gombe Governor

Inuwa Yahaya, the governor of Gombe State has said that the northeast will not follow the path of the Niger Delta and other oil-producing areas around the world.

Yahaya stated this on Tuesday during an interview on “Politics Today,” a political Programme on Channels TV, according to reports.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the first crude oil drilling project in northern Nigeria, on the boundary of Bauchi and Gombe States.

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The NNPC had in October 2019 announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the Northeastern part of the country.

The new oil field, according to reports, has over 1 billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas.

Yahaya, while speaking on managing the new resources, said the ministries of the environment in the states will collaborate with the federal ministry of environment to protect the area.

He stressed that the government will avoid all the pitfalls that have characterised oil exploration in the south.

We have learnt our lessons. With the developments and what has been happening around the Niger Delta and other oil-producing areas of the world, naturally, no government will allow things to follow the same track.

“With regard to the issue of the environment, our ministry of environment is working hand in hand with the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) so that we will avoid all the mistakes and pitfalls that have been the big challenge of oil exploration and implementation in the southern part of the country.

“Going forward, Gombe State will be working with some consultants that have been guiding us as to what we need to do, especially by providing the required skill, workmanship, and labour that is needed in order to be useful and exploited in the oil operations.”

Additionally, Yahaya said that the process has been transparent enough while assuring citizens of opportunities in the oil value chain.

He said:

There is nothing opaque. We are transparent and I believe the company and the NNPC itself are so transparent that these days no activity will be taken off the shelf.

“So, we shall make sure that from the environment to the impact on society and the community, there will be no cause for alarm. As a state government, we are ready to partner with any investor.

“There is a window for us to discuss; we are ready to engage our local business community so that along the value chain, anybody that is interested will identify where to fix and where to invest so that eventually, economic activity will be kick-started and it will be enjoyed by the people of the state.”

It was gathered that the Niger Delta region has been grappling with the impact of oil exploration on the environment since the discovery of the mineral in 1956.


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