By Bode Olushegun
The Federal Government on Wednesday indicated that it would start oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin.
The exercise was suspended by the Nigerian government in July 2017 after suspected members of Boko Haram attacked a team of Geological Engineers from the University of Maiduguri who were engaged by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to carry out a survey of the the Lake Chad region in Borno State towards the commencement of oil exploration.
The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, addressing the media after a closed-door meeting in Maiduguri with the military and chief executive officers in the oil sector, said the area was now peaceful enough to commence the oil exploration.
Sylvia said that the relative peace in Borno state and the Lake Chad area informed the decision to move in for exploration and drilling activities in the oil rich region.
He said: “We are here to thank the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army for the great job they continue to perform in the Northeast. We believe that without their gallant activities here, we in Abuja would not be living safely.
“Having thanked the Army, we also wanted to start exploration and drilling activities here because, we believe that there is relative peace in the area.
”As you may well know, we have found oil in Gombe and we believe that there is a lot of oil to be found in the Lake Chad Basin. we have seen a lot of prospects in the Chad Basin and we want to commence exploration and drilling activities and that is why we are collaborating with the Nigerian Army to ensure that security is provided for activities to commence very soon.”
The Minister commended the sacrifice and gallantry of the Nigerian Army in the fight against insurgency in the Northeast.
He also sought the collaboration of the Chief of Army Staff in providing enough security to secure the installations and workers on the field.
The minister was accompanied on the visit by Group Managing Director of NNPC, Alhaji Mele Kyari, and Group General Manager Frontier Exploration Services, Abdullahi Bomai, among other officers.