By Onuminya Innocent
The three states of Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara that made up the Sokoto Basin have charged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to spearhead the exploration of the crude oil in the Sokoto Basin.
The charge was made on behalf of the governments of Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara, where the Basin is, by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
According to Tambuwal, who spoke at the first quarter 2021 Public Lecture series at the Usmanu Danfodio University (UDU) in Sokoto, which was chaired by his Kebbi State counterpart, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, “The Sokoto State Government and that of Kebbi and Zamfara States are ready to collaborate with you, especially on exploration activities in the Sokoto Basin.”
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Muhammad Bello, Tambuwal pointed out that the initial unsuccessful attempt to seek crude oil deposits in what is otherwise known as the Iullemmeden or Touareg Basin, which predates Oloibiri, was that of Elf expedition 70 years ago.
Tambuwal further stated that in the 80s, “during President Shehu Shagari’s administration, I was told by late Sultan Dasuki of blessed memory that the same Elf was invited here. He undertook a trip to France under the then regime, and they came back. Again, the same story.”
The governor, therefore, invited the NNPC, whose Group Managing Director, Mele Kolo Kyari, delivered the lecture titled: ‘Navigating Energy Transition and the Imperatives of University-Industry Collaboration’ at the event “to support the exploration,” assuring him “that we are willing to collaborate with you in that regard. Whatever you want us to do as governments, for these states, we are ready to do that.”
Stating that the communities in the states are hospitable, Tambuwal said: “We will give you all the enablers. Whatever you want us to do, we will do it to bring out what we have underneath for the common advantage or use of our country.”
He, however, emphasised that the states “are not in competition with any region. We are not in competition with anybody. We do not claim the ownership of these resources. What we are saying is that the resources are for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and they are here.”
He called for cooperation in the best interest of the country, stating that all the federating units should “come and let’s put hands together and ensure that we bring them out for the benefit of the people.”
In his presentation, Kyari said although the corporation is desirous of a beneficial energy transition regime, he stressed that “such cannot be complete without the right investment climate, capital, effective regulation and stakeholders’ commitment, stable institutions and governance.