Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Alhaji Maikanti Baru, Monday said plan to commence oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin had already been concluded.
Baru revealed that the corporation had concluded arrangement to mobilise heavy and sophisticated equipment to the area in order to resume oil exploration.
He said the arrangement to resume oil exploration was reached after an assurance was received from the military to provide adequate security even after relative peace had returned to the area with the degrading of the militant group, Boko Haram.
Baru said oil exploration, with all these arrangements, would commence in the next six months.
The promise was given during the top management staff of the NNPC courtesy call on the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima at the Government House, Maiduguri. Baru who was represented by the corporationâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, Gas and Power, Saidu Mohammed, said they were in the state to sympathise with the government and people of the state who had suffered devastating attacks and destructions from the insurgents, and to explore areas where NNPC will come in and assist as part of its corporate social responsibilities.
He said: â€œWe are here in Borno to express our full alignment to the ongoing Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement process by government in all the liberated communities.
â€œTherefore, NNPC want to appeal and seek where it can come in and assist, because, the rate of devastation is worrisome.
â€œWe are also in the state to inform you that in the next 6 weeks, we are going to redeploy our team of experts back to Maiduguri to resume oil exploration with better technology in the Lake Chad Basin.
â€œThis is necessary with our renewed efforts in harnessing, oil, gas and Power to increase the economy of the nation, in line with the agenda of president Muhammadu Buhari in job creation and economic diversification.â€
Responding, Governor Shettima thanked the team for the visit, and NNPCâ€™s resolve to resume oil exploration in the region.
He said his administration would partner with NNPC to actualise its mission, as according to him, the exploration when concluded will not only generate revenue, but create employment opportunities to the people across the country, particularly, north east region.
He, therefore, appealed to NNPC to assist the state government in reconstructing and rebuilding thousands of schools and furniture hitherto destroyed by insurgents, stressing that the education sector remains the only means of fighting poverty, that is associated with emergence of Boko Haram.
The NNPC team, also paid courtesy visit on the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai El-Kanemi, in his palace, where the monarch equally solicited support of NNPC in the ongoing reconstruction and resettlement of millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back to their liberated communities.