By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—GOVERNOR Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State, yesterday, met President Muhammadu Buhari closed-door at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, and demanded a refund of N13 billion the state spent during the last administration on security to fight the Boko Haram insurgents.
This is even as Governor Aminu Tambuwal in a separate meeting, briefed President Buhari on the possibility of exploration of oil at Sokoto Basin and efforts of governors from the north in meeting their South-East/South-South counterparts to calm down security situation in the wake of secessionist agitation by Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting President Buhari, the Yobe State governor said: “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 head some state issues which I would like to brief him.
“So I came here to pay my homage, I congratulated him 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.
Speaking on how much support the state had received from the Presidential initiative so far and how much he was expecting, he 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 can not 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.
“We have submitted the bill to the Federal Government, if they could refund even 30 percent of that so that we can deploy it in establishment of some infrastructure such hospital.’’
Exploration of oil in Sokoto Basin
Also speaking to journalists in a separate interview, Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto State said he discussed with the President the need to intensify exploration of oil and gas at Sokoto Basin.
He also said he briefed the President on the efforts of the northern governors in meeting their counterparts from south east and south-south in the heat of the separatist agitation by IPOB.
He 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 of 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 of the north to interact with our brothers in the south east and south south and the people particularly of the North who are residing there so there was a need for a feedback.
“Also we have discussed with the President, 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 Mr. president of that particular interaction and the need for the Federal government to continue to support that endeavour which we believe will help in not only more provision of oil and gas that we believe is very much in abundance in that basin but also in bringing about agricultural revolution in the area.
“ If you have gas it will support the power supply of the area which will in turn enhance and influence agro- allied industries that are likely to come on board which in turn will also have a positive impact economically on the lives and the well- being of the people that are along the basin. So these are some of the issues that I discussed with Mr President.”
On what has given him the confidence on exploration of oil in sokoto basin, he said, “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.’’