Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
Appeal has gone to President Muhammed Buhari to kindly accord Kogi State its right status as an oil producing state following the exploration of oil in Echeno and Udeke all in Ibaji local government council of the state.
The appeal was made yesterday by Kogi State House of Assembly following the adoption of Hon. John Abah (Ibaji constituency) Motion appealing to the state government to expedite action in ensuring the declaration of Kogi State by the Federal government as an oil producing state.
Abah’s motion was coming on the heel of a youth group in the State; Concern Youth Group throwing their back on the assembly resolution urging the Federal Government to declare the state as an oil producing state, saying giving the Kogi State an oil producing status will end the hostility between Anambra and Kogi State.
According to the legislator’s motion, “Late Prince Audu Abubakar, the former Governor of Kogi State, on 18th July 2001 conveyed a letter to the Group Managing Director of NNPC notifying the Corporation of discovery of crude oil in Ibaji Local Government Area of the State.
“Therein the same missive, he requested the corporation to carry out a thorough investigation to determine the extent of the deposit. Even though the preliminary investigation carried out by the NNPC was not published, it is no longer in doubt that there is oil deposit in Ibaji Local Government Area.
“Consequent upon this, it may interest this august Assembly to know that Orient Petroleum Resources Limited made three offers to Kogi State Government when the company arrived on the scene for oil exploration.
“The details are to wit:1. That the Government of Kogi State should appoint a Liaison to be a link between the Government and the company. 2. That the Government of Kogi State should allocate a land to her to use as her depot. 3. That the Government of Kogi State should buy a share of at least N500, 000,000 in the company.
“Even though the State Government has not taken up the shares, the company confirmed in its official website that the Kogi State Government has granted the other two requests of appointment of Liaison Officer and allocation of land.
“All these point to the fact that the area in dispute belongs to Kogi State. Whereas, pertinent questions requiring responses are whether Kogi State should shut its eyes and not assert its God given position in the comity of oil producing States, or as a State, which is almost bereft of good revenue sources to augment on its IGR, action should not be expedited to boost its economic fortune?
“No doubt, oil discovered in Kogi State will bring about total transformation of the State in economic and social development, industrial growth, employment, trade and commerce, infrastructural development and so on.”
Abah therefore prayed the house to resolved; that a strongly worded appeal be made to the Federal Government of Nigeria, to declare Kogi State as an oil producing State in Nigeria; That the State Government should as a matter of urgency inaugurate the Kogi State Chapter of Oil Producing Host Communities of Nigeria”.
He also prayed that an appeal be further made urging the State Government to set up a Special Unit or a Department to oversee the activities of the oil companies in the State; and that the National Boundary Commission be also called upon to fast track the process of demarcation of Kogi/Anambra and Kogi/Enugu Boundaries.
The Speaker, Umar Ahmed ratified the legislator’s prayers and passed the motion.
The group on their own said, “It is in our view that the only thing that can end the killing of innocent lives, destruction of property in the area is the declaration of Kogi State by the Federal government of Nigeria as an oil producing state.
“Orient Petroleum Resources PLC (OPR), having been granted licenses – OPL 195 and OPK 916 by the federal government of Nigeria and has been lifting crude oil from Ibaji local government area of Kogi state, has fully drilled 4 Oil wells from its activities within Kogi, Edo and Anambra states.
These oil wells numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 were named Anambra River wells. Evidentially, Wells Number 3 and 4 are located in Ibaji Local Government of Kogi State.
“The quality of crude being lifted, according to the official website of the Orient Petroleum Resources PLC, from these wells, is about 33,000 barrels per day. Apart from this, it is now abundantly obvious that as the company continues the exploration activities in Ibaji and other parts of Kogi state like Alade in Igalamela/Odolu Local government area more oil sites are being discovered.”
The group who recalled that the petroleum company initial sited its operational base in Echeno in Ibaji LG of Kogi state urged President Buhari to look into their demands, “it is interesting to know that Orient Petroleum Resources limited had its operational base at Echeno in Ibaji, Kogi State when the company arrived on the scene for oil exploration before the hostilities over the boundary began.
“We therefore with every sense of responsibility call on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency look into this issue without any further delay to declare Kogi Sate an oil producing state”.