President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would soon start to prospect for oil and gas in the Benue Trough.
The president, who made this comment during his presidential campaign in Benue State yesterday, said it was the next stage in the search for oil in the region following the commencement of drilling in the Kolmani River area, located within Bauchi and Gombe states.
According to a statement by the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari said this yesterday while addressing traditional rulers at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Makurdi, Benue. President Buhari recalled that when he was minister of petroleum in the 70s, he had seen “very interesting seismic surveys” that promised oil and gas from the Chad Basin through the Benue Trough down to the Delta region. He, however, stated that government decided to invest in the Niger Delta because of the promise of quicker results.
He narrated past efforts by him as military head of state to diversify the country’s sources of oil to strengthen its unity, promising that his administration would intensify efforts in this direction. President Buhari also acknowledged the observation by the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, that peace had been restored to Benue following the containment of farmers and herders’ clashes as well as the fact the President had so far conducted decent and peaceful campaign. He promised to look at requests for more roads, bridges and tertiary institutions made by the royal father.
On his part, the Tor Tiv had expressed appreciation to President Buhari “for the way and manner you have conducted peaceful campaign, no riots, no violence, setting good example. “We had a challenging time in 2016. Thanks for your intervention, for accepting our appeal to step up security. Operation Whirl Strike has succeeded in chasing away violent herders.”
The monarch also called for more attention to the country’s borders to check the influx of criminals and bandits into Nigeria. In his speech, the state governor, Samuel Ortom, called for free and fair elections, urging all contestants to abide by the outcome.
“We believe you are a man of integrity and you keep your words,” he told the president. “I would like to believe that you will not do anything to truncate our democracy.’’