By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State government has again confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon in the Bida basin, but explained that the state has not been able to confirm the presence of crude oil in the basin.
However, the state government has commenced talks with investors that “will conduct seismic data analysis to prove the viability of hydrocarbon in commercial quantity in the basin”.
The Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammed Panti, who disclosed this in Minna on Friday said: “Shallow wells were drilled in Makera Bokani, Kontagora, Enagi and Gulu to confirm the extent of the Kudu Shale. It is worthy to note that these results have confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon at the Bida basin.”
The commissioner, who spoke to the press in his office, said that to give vent to government’s plan to diversify the state’s economy, the administration has acquired “mineral title for Zuma Mineral Development Company, to enable it participate actively in exploration of solid minerals in the state”.
“The company is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under the ministry and was created to carry out mining activities on behalf of the state,” Panti said.
The commissioner disclosed that five years after the outbreak of lead poisoning in the Madaka area of Rafi Local Government, seven of the victims were still bedridden and receiving treatment in an unnamed hospital.
According to him, not less than 200 villagers were affected by the outbreak out of which eight died.
Panti however said that government has taken over the Safer Mining site in the community to avoid another outbreak.
He also said that N100 million worth of equipment purchased by government had been installed in Madaka town to modernise mining activities.
He decried the activities of illegal miners in several parts of the state, saying they “are constituting themselves to a menace and danger not only to themselves but the communities where the illegal mining is taking place”.