The federal government under the aegis of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been urged to spearhead the exploration of oil in the Sokoto Basin.
This call 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), Sokoto, chaired by his Kebbi State counterpart, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, “the government of Sokoto State and indeed, I can say so for the governments of Kebbi and Zamfara, are ready and willing to collaborate with you, especially on exploration activities on Sokoto Basin.”
Pointing out that the initial unsuccessful attempt to seek oil deposits in what is otherwise known as the Iullemmeden, or Touareg Basin, which predates Oloibiri, was that of ELF expedition seventy years ago.
Later in the 80s, “during Shagari’s administration, I was told by late Sultan Dasuki, of blessed memory, that the same ELF was invited here again. He, himself, undertook a trip to France under the then regime, and; they came back. Again, the same story,” Gov. Tambuwal recalls.
He, therefore, invited the NNPC, which Group Managing Director, Mele Kolo Kyari, who delivered the lecture titled: ‘Navigating Energy Transition and the Imperatives of University-Industry Collaboration,’ “to support that exploration here,” assuring “that we are willing and ready 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, the Governor.said: “We will give you all the enablers. Whatever you want us to do we will do for us to bring out what we have underneath for the common advantage or use of our country.”
He, however, emphasized that the states “are not…in competition with any region. We are not in competition with any body. 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.”
Instead, he urged for cooperation in the best interest of the nation, calling that all the federating units should “come and let’s put our 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, this, he stressed “cannot be complete without the right investment climate, capital, effective regulation and stakeholders’ commitment, stable institutions and governance…”