…It will balance wealth equation in Nigeria
…It will encourage criminality like it did in Niger Delta
…Militancy will surface in the north
…Agriculture in the north may be abandoned
…It’s a curse, nothing to celebrate
…It’s Allah’s compensation for the loss of Groundnut Pyramids
BEN AGANDE, KADUNA, MARIE-THERESE NANLONG, JOS; PETER DURU, MAKURDI; BASHIR BELLO, KATSINA; ABDULMUMIN GIWA, KANO; TINA AKANNAM, DUTSE, BALA AJIYA, DAMATURU, CHARLES AGWAM, BAUCHI and UMAR YUSUF, YOLA.
Mixed reactions have continued to dog the recent discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the northern part of the country. While some residents in the north are up in celebration about the discovery, others are less than enthusiastic because of the way oil in the south has been managed by successive governments.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation last week announced the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-Eastern part of the country.
A statement by the corporation’s Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Samson Makoji, stated that NNPC acquired 435.54km2 of 3D Seismic Data over Kolmani Prospect in the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin.
While the discovery has brought about a collective sigh of relief on the part of the NNPC which had been prospecting for oil in the northern part of the country for a long time, some residents in the north are not too excited.. Some believe that rather than concentrate on searching for oil in the north, the government should have tapped into the agricultural potentials of the northern region.
It Will Stop The Influx Of Northerners To The South For Greener Pastures…Nba Chairman
According to the former chairman of the Barnawa, Kaduna state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Napoleon Idenala, “the discovery of oil is good news in the sense that it will boost the economic potential for the region. It will also control the movement of people from the north to the south in search of jobs. It is a good omen.
For the spokesman of the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdulaziz Suleiman,the discovery of oil in the north would have been earlier if successive governments had been committed to the project.
“In actual fact, it did not come as anything new to us. We all knew that there were huge oil deposits in not only Bauchi but all over the North-East and many parts of the North-Central. The problem has all along been commitment of successive administrations to actual exploration. Otherwise the availability of huge oil deposits in Lake Chad, Niger and Benue is not new news.
“The concern as at today is what the discovery of oil in the north would play in the continued unity of the region. The problem with Nigeria has all along been inadequate, ineffective and unfocused leadership models. The oil in the north is by right the oil of the whole of Nigeria. By the existing federal arrangement, no one community can lay claim to the resources onshore or otherwise by virtue of geography.
“As a group that is interested in ensuring a stable and viable northern region in the context of a united, strong and prosperous Nigeria, CNG is quite unlikely to encourage monopoly of the oil discovered in the the north and for the north alone.
“We in the north would have to see the discovery as an opportunity to assess the future of the north in the context of the many opportunities and challenges which the oil exploration represents.
“Rather than engaging in jubilation, useful and constructive engagements should be initiated which should create avenues for improving inputs and influence of northern elders, professionals and leaders in all aspects of governance’ he said
Avoid Mistakes Of The Past….prof. John Wade
Marie-Therese Nanlong in Jos reports that while some residents think the discovery means a new lease of life for the region; others received the news with cautious optimism.
According to Director-General, Research and Documentation Plateau state, Professor John Wade, efforts should be made to avoid the mistakes associated with oil exploration and exploration in the Niger Delta region of the country..
“It is one thing to discover oil; it is another thing to make the best use of it because if you look at the different perspectives, so many things need to be taken into consideration in respect of environmental impacts. You know the challenges of pollution caused by oil spillage. So long as it is properly exploited and properly utilized along the line of the value chain, it would have its benefits because certainly, there would be employment. Though it is a welcome development, it must be handled with caution, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from the oil exploring countries of the world in respect to the environmental challenges that they are having. We have many by-products of crude oil; it is not just about oil being used for power generation, there are many opportunities we can benefit from if we handle the discovery with caution.”
Another respondent, Emilia Dusu noted that the discovery of oil should not be celebrated because of the experiences of other states.
“Oil discovery has been a curse on this nation rather than a blessing because those who have access to the oil exploit it to the detriment of the poor. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Without oil, we see so much insecurity; with this discovery, if the exploration commences, you can imagine the magnitude of insecurity because everyone would want to get something out of it. I don’t know if it is a welcome development but my plea is that proper planning be in place before exploration so that specific targets which would add value to the poor can be met.”
Northerners Will No Longer Be Seen As Parasites….abdullahi
From Kano, Abdulmumin Murtala, reports that kano residents are excited that the discovery of oil in the north means that the region will no longer be seen as a leech on the country.
According to Muhammad Abdullahi, a trader in Kano , the discovery is an economic blessing to the region and the country at large.
“It is a good development that oil has been discovered in the north. It is also an economic pride which will invite investors to the region and expand the economy and the GDP of the region.
“Oil discovery in the north bails us from the insults of some elements in the south that call us parasites. Oil in the north will balance the equation. More so, it will also earn the communities concerned more income as in the financial policies of the country whereby more allocation will also be given to them as it is done to those in the oil regions of the South” he said.
But for Mallam Ahmed Sorondinki, a farmer and a writer in Kano, the discovery of oil is not worthy of celebration because according to him, “the use oil globally is being reduced with the introduction of electric vehicles across the globe. This has to do with the management of the environment.
“The volume of oil discovered in the north is not that much as to last very long. The discovery of oil is surely going to encourage criminality in the region like that of the Niger Delta region. It will also encourage and enhance corruption and likely to generate a face-off between the North and the South.”
Militancy Will Surface In The North….bitrus
In Damaturu, Bala Ajiya reports that the discovery of oil in the north was received with mixed feelings as respondents believed that with the educational disadvantage of the region, its people may not benefit directly from the discovery. Others believe that with the on going insurgency in the north eastern part of the country, militancy, as witnessed in the Niger Delta region will surface in the north.
A lecturer with federal University , Gashua, Mr Dennis Bitrus says “The discovery of oil comes with mixed feelings as it will boost the economic activities , that will attract different types of oil servicing companies to the north which will generate employment opportunity for the teeming unemployed youth , not only in the North but entire nation .
“ Again other associated problems with oil exploration will crop up , just like what is obtainable in Niger Delta areas , where youth militancy has sprung up and agricultural activities are at their lowest ebb, agriculture in the north may be abandoned “ he said .
Oil Discovery In North: It’s A Curse, Nothing To Celebrate – Funtua
Bashir Bello in KATSINA reports that some people in the state believe the discovery of oil in the north is a curse and not a blessing as it will set back the region in terms of real development.
According to Lawal Saidu Funtua, the Chairman, Journalists for Accountability and Good Governance Initiative, JAGGI, Katsina State, the discovery of oil in the north portends curse for the region and nothing to celebrate about it.
“Discovery of the oil is one thing but starting the real exploration is another. It is a curse. It brings about set backs. It brings about agitation over resources control. It makes people lazy and further dependent on oil. Already, the economy of country is mono-cultural, depending largely on oil.
“If you look at the whole world, countries playing leading role in the international economy system are those depending on ICT and Agriculture. If you look at developed nations, they are setting some years ahead to stop the use of oil to power their machines and vehicles. They are thinking of how to use solar and wind to power industrial machines and vehicles.
“If you are celebrating oil, what do you think about the FG’s drive to diversify the economy? If it were new discovery in Agriculture, say something that could boost production in Groundnut, cotton, etc, generally getting improved farming, we would have celebrated it.
“ What value has oil revenue added to Nigeria since independence? Infrastructure such as schools, roads, water, hospitals have all collapsed, so what are you celebrating? After payment of salary, others are stolen. Take for instance, Katsina State, if you remove the allocation they are getting from the center, what are they generating internally? Allocation gotten from oil has made states lazy, and things have degenerated. In fact, in the past, when the state depended on Agriculture, things were good in the state” Funtua said.
The North Can Now Compete With The South….mansur Isa
In Bauch where the oil discovery was made, Charles Agwam reports that residents believe that the discovery of oil in the north will level the playing field between the north and the south because northerners will now be able to compete on an even keel.
Mansur Isa, a resident of Bauchi “ most states in the South have been collecting more allocations than us because of the 13% derivation they get from their oil even though they are smaller in number compared to us. Just wait and see how our state will develop very fast when we begin to collect that 13%. We will progress at a much faster pace than we ever did because foreign investors will come in and there will be jobs for our people,” he noted.
Zainab Musa, a student of nursing said she was happy about the discovery, noting that it will help to usher in more development and create jobs for the unemployed in the region.
“I am very excited. You know, when the exploration started, many people did not believe that black gold could actually come out from the North. But thanks to the resilience of our President, we have finally discovered oil. This, I think, will help our region to develop and create more jobs for our men, women and youths who are without jobs. I thank God for this progress. I couldn’t be more grateful,” she said.
It Is Allah’s Compensation For The Loss Of Groundnut Pyramid.. Alhaji Yusuf Adamu
Residents of Dutse in Jigawa state see the discovery of oil in the north as “Allah’s compensation to the north for its lost glory, Tina Akannam reports.
According to Alhaji Yusuf Adamu Babies, a chieftain of the APC, the recent discovery of crude oil in the north is a welcome development and blessing not only to the north but to the entire country.
“As a northerner I see the discovery of oil in the north as Allah compensating the north for loss of our groundnut pyramids which we used to exploit and even supplied to the south and today some critics are saying the north did not contribute anything to the country. In fact, I am so happy with the discovery. It means that apart from the agricultural, livestock contribution to the nation, very soon the north will also contribute oil fund to the federal government.
“I also see the discovery of oil bringing better unity between the north and other parts of the country who feel they are the major contributors to the nation’s resources.
His views were also shared by Sani Ibrahim Taura, a former media aide to the Jigawa state governor who said “the discovery of oil in the north means that now the north can also contribute to the federal revenue like other oil producing states. Those who say we are not contributing anything to the nation revenue will cover themselves with shame because Almighty Allah has given the north oil” he said.
The North Can Now Bargain Better With The South…Ayati
In makurdi, residents who spoke with Peter Duru believe that the discovery of oil in the north means that the north can now negotiate with the south on a position of strength, especially in the areas of revenue sharing formula.
According to a civil servant, Jacob Ayati “the north has finally entered the league of oil producing areas of the country with its numerous economic benefits. With the discovery it now behooves the north to ensure that exploration is started without delay and for that to be realized we must all collectively work hard to check the issue of insecurity that is crippling the economy of the north knowing full well that the discovery will boost the economy of the north and also create employment opportunities for the people. The discovery has also availed the people the much needed bargaining platform to speak on issues of revenue sharing and allocation to oil producing states which used to be the preserve of states in the Niger Delta.
Generally it is a welcome development that holds great prospect for the government and people of the north who will benefit immensely from the discovery
similarly, Emmanuel Gwaza, a Journalist, says the discovery “ goes to show that one of the greatest assets of this country has been discovered in another geopolitical zone of the country. It will now reduce the pressure being experienced in the Niger Delta zone. It also means that there appears to be a balance in the existence of one of the mineral resources held in high esteem in this country. By the time Nigeria goes into exploring the oil, there would be more employment opportunities in the north as more multinationals would move into the country to carry out various businesses in the northern part of the country.
But again discovering oil in the north, while it is a good thing, it is another for it to be workable. This requires that the government would have to frontally tackle the issue of insecurity in the north as this would clear the grounds for foreign expatriates to move in and establish their businesses. So give and take it is a thing of joy for the people of the north”
It Is The Best Thing To Have Happened To The North…abdullahi
The Zonal Vice President North of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas , NUPENG, Alhaji Isah Abdullahi Rabo told Umar Yusuf in Yola that the discovery of oil in the north was “the best thing to have happened to the North in particular and the Nation at large”.
Raboh added that unemployment, poverty, have been the bane of the North and if exploration of oil gets underway, the problems will be solved.
Mr Gyang Pam, a civil servant however warned that politicians should not allow dirty politics to rear its head in the exploration.
Pam said bigger projects than the the oil discovery have been abandoned due to political interests, saying this has contributed to the under development in the country.