No going back on oil exploration in Chad River Basin — Nigeria
Which is more correct: not venturing into Chad River Basin Axis until Boko Haram is cleared, or calling the bluff of the insurgents? But in both, lives and resources are involved… Read detail:
Despite the killing of more than 15 contract staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), including yet-to-be known number of reaserchers of the University of Maiduguri, nithing will stop Nigeria from further search of crude oil from the volatile Lake Chad Basin.
This is according to seperate statements atributted to both the Corporation and the University authorities on Monday.
Some members of oil prospecting team were kidnapped in Kiv Village, about 30 kilometres to Borno State capital , Maiduguri, last Tuesday afternnon.
The military, which reportedly swooped into action on getting the information, had hurriedly issued a statement that it had rescued the team from the hands of the Boko Haram insurgents.
But it was to later admit misleading the public, after it was learnt that an attempt at rescuing the abducted officials was met with fierce resistance by the terrorists, leading to the death of more than two scores of people , including members of the oil team, the rescuers from the military and the vigilance group.
However, Mr Danjuma Gambo, a spokesman for the University, told newsmen on Monday, after officials of the NNPC visited the institution for a fact-finding mission that Nigerian scientists would continue to search for oil in the restive region despite the kidnap saga.
His words: “The Vice Chancellor has confirmed that the University of Maiduguri will not chicken out of the oil exploration in the Lake Chad, despite the recent unfortunate incident.
” He told the NNPC delegate that some of the dead were actually from the Geology Department of the University.”
Also, the NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, said the idea of not succumbing to the threats of the Boko Haram is to avoid giving them the unnecessary attention and underserved credence, which they were scheming for.
It would be recalled that Avting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday had ordered that the military to scale up its efforts at routing out the Boko Haram insurgency.
He re-orderred the militaty high command to relocate its opetations base to the northeast.
But securiry experts are not impressed that the authorities would be talking of the possibility of heading back on oil exploration in the northeast region, irrespective of the massive loss of both human lives and other resources, so far on the project.
A good number of commentators on the development describe the statement attributed to the authorities as being insensitive to the mood of the nation.
Mr. Mike Ahumibe, the proprietor of Agafa Security Services, a private outfit put it this way: ” In other climes, we should be talking of setting up inquiry into how and why highly trained NNPC personnel and some academics would have been set out to an unsecured territory, as restive as the Chad Basin, which has largely been under the control of the insurgents since 2013.
“But from all indications, there may not be any public inquiry on this, however, it amounts to taking the people for granted for any government official to insist that oil exploration exercise must continue in that region, in spite of the avoidable losses that the country has been subjected to.”
Meanwhile, the families of the deceased were yet to be officially briefed on the fate of their members, and the necessary compensation, almost a week to the incident.