Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoko State and Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State respectively met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Monday.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after their meetings, the governors revealed why they visited the president.Governor Tambuwal said the issue of northern governors’ visit to the South East and oil and gas exploration came for deliberation with Buhari.
Governor Geidam said he came to congratulate the president on his return from medical trip.He also discussed the post insurgency challenges and the assistance the state requires with Buhari
Tambuwal said: “I came to see our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari and we had discussion on quite a number of issues. Of specific mention is the issue is the general well- being of the country, security situation of the country. I am sure you are aware that recently we were in the south east, as governors from the north went to interact with our brothers in the south east and south south and particularly people of the North residing there. So there was a need for a feedback.
“Also ..if you remember very well recently, I was personally at the NNPC towers where we engaged the GMD of the NNPC on possible oil exploration in the Sokoto basin and I have had cause to brief the president on that particular interaction.There is a need for the Federal government to continue to support that endeavour which I believe will help in more provision of oil and gas which we believe is very much in abundance in this basin but also in bringing about agricultural revolution in that area.
“If you have gas it will support the power supply which will in turn enhance and influence agro- allied industries that are likely to come on board and also have a positive impact economically on the lives and well- being of the people that are along the basin. This are some of the issues we discussed with Mr President.
“It has always been there since 1957, when the first attempt was made but with the discovery of oil in the Delta which we believe from the information we have is easier to exploit, there was a shift in focus to that of Niger Delta . We believe particularly the issue of gas,we need it for our local consumption, we have the conviction that what we have in that area is more than sufficient for … use by the people of the area.If explored, we don’t have to make pipelines from the Delta region up north to North West states of Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina, if you do that you will ease the problem of evacuation and transportation or piping as it were of gas and Petroleum products. So it’s a way of providing cheaper services to the people .
Also Yobe State Governor Geidam told reporters, “I am primarily here for two reasons. Since coming back of Mr President from his medical trip, I was not able to meet with him. I also had some state issues which I would like to brief him. So I came here to pay my homage, I congratulated him (and prayed)for him to get good health, I told him that I was here to brief him and at the same time, tell him the state of affairs of my state, that is Yobe state which is the front line state in terms of insurgency.
“I told him that we have now gotten relative peace in Yobe state in terms of the insurgency. For the past two years or so, we have not had any attack by the insurgents in Yobe state. So I accordingly briefed him and told him that all our IDPs have returned to their bases and resumed their normal businesses. Our problems now are bordering on resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the destroyed areas by the Boko Haram.
“I told him that as government, we have been doing our best to restore all those facilities which were destroyed by Boko Haram but we needed assistance from the Federal Government which he promised assisting.
Responding to the kind of assistance required, he said “Well in terms of reconstruction, rehabilitation, although there is the Presidential Committee in the North East, they are doing their best but they need to do more. That is what I told Mr. President. Some of our people lost their livelihood, their farms, homes etc. They need to be given some amount of money or the Federal Government through the Presidential Committee may assist them to reconstruct or rebuild their houses so that they can start their normal lives.
Speaking on the Presidential Initiative, Geidam said, “Well, we have not received a kobo in terms of cash but in terms of materials, food and non food items, we have been receiving a lot which I cannot tell you precisely in a quantified form here, we have received enough. But during the last administration, Yobe state took care of the Joint Task Force which is a combination of the military, the SSS, the Police, the Mobile Police who were carrying out the war against the insurgency. We even paid their allowances, all their logistical needs including patrol vehicles. We have spent quite substantial amount of money in that direction up to about N13 billion during the time of insurgency and we have submitted to the Federal Government if they could refund even 30 percent of that so that we can deploy it in establishment of some infrastructure like hospital. Recently, we awarded a construction of cargo airport, if we can get a portion of that money, it will go a long way in relieving some of our problems.”