Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello has appealed to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fast track the exploration of hydro carbon in Bida Basin.
Governor Sani-Bello made the appeal when he and some members of his cabinet paid a courtesy visit to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that the state government had established a Ministry of Mineral Resources and departmentofoil and gas to ensure the state was among oil producing states in the country.
“We are making progress in Bida basin that is why we are here to follow up and find out how things are moving and have an understanding of the progresses made for the benefit of our people.
“It will be our joy and hope that the state will join the oil producing states, as we are hoping to start exploring oil in the state as soon as possible.
Governor Sani-Bello also appealed to the NNPC boss to build truck parks for oil tanker drivers in Minna, Tafa, Suleja, Mokwa and Tegina for them to park their vehicles to ensure safety of the people of state.
“A lot of oil trucks filled with fuel park their vehicles within our communities and they load oil above the normal approve standard of 35000 metric tons.
“Any mistake from these tanker drivers results to casualties and sometimes loss of lives and destruction of properties. We have identify areas that these parks can be built.
“We are asking for your support to assist us build them and rehabilitate our roads that are in bad shape as a result of these trucks carrying overweight products,” he said.
The Governor decried that the state government had spent a lot of money to rehabilitate federal roads linking the state and other parts of the country.
Responding, Baru disclosed that contract had been awarded to the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai in November for the geological mapping of the Bida basin and would be concluded in three months.
“After the geological mapping, we will do the surface, geographical history as well as ground gravity and the data will be integrated by the NNPC.
“Other activities will take at least four to six months and we will be expecting conclusion between July and August 2018.
“We will run the original precise data after which we will commission the environmental assessment,” he said.
The NNPC GMD who noted that he had read media reports and research papers on the possible hydrocarbon deposit in the Bida basin, said that NNPC would carry out the exploration process professionally and commence activities on the basin.
He, however, said that the NNPC was in contact with the Federal Ministry of Works on how to rehabilitate some of the Federal roads that links the state with others Northern parts of the country.
“We will ensure that bad portions in Mokwa, Jebba, Lapai and Minna roads are rehabilitated with the support from the Federal government.
“We will also increase our pressure on the Federal of Works to building bridges across these road and pass a warning to truck drivers not to load above the upgraded 46000 gross rate of the ministry,” he added.
Baru noted that the NNPC had directed various oil depots across the country to avoid loading oil tankers above the approved 35000 to 40000 metric tons.
He gave assurance that NNPC would assist the state to build trucks parks in Suleja and Minna through Public Private Partnership to avoid environmental hazard.
He appealed to the state government to extend the land provision for building trucks parks in Tafa that would accommodate the trucks.
In addition to establishing ministry of mineral resources as well as department of oil and gas, Governor Sani- Bello has also set up a committee on Bida Basin. Other steps taken include a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Bida Basin. So far the Committee has been interfacing with Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.