Renevlyn Development Initiative

Address anxiety over oil exploration in Bauchi, Gombe states, RDI urges govt

The Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI) has berated the Federal Government for failing to prepare oil-bearing communities in Bauchi and Gombe states for potential environmental and health impacts of oil exploration in the region.

RDI position emanated from an interactive meeting the organisation held with community members in Alkeleri Local Government Area of Bauchi on the 28th February 2024, where the local community folks had the opportunity of learning about oil impacts in the Niger Delta and environmental issues likely to arise in the north following the discovery of oil in substantial quantity.

They complained about growing friction between communities in the two states over ownership of the oil wells, and also decried growing insecurity plaguing the region.

The Nigerian government in October 2019 announced that it has found one billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas within the Kolmani river area of Gombe and Bauchi State. The oilfields (OPL 809 and 810) that are to be developed by Sterling Global Oil, Northern Nigeria Development Commission (NNDC) and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited have attracted an investment of $3billion marking a journey of oil exploration in northern Nigeria.  Former president, Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the exploration on 22nd November 2022.

The hype that went with the federal government announcement has however not been matched with the anticipated engagement of the locals to forestall a recurrence of the crisis in host communities in the Niger Delta.

RDI Project Officer, Ifeoluwa Adediran said: “It is quite unfortunate that after the fanfare of the government announcement of crude oil exploration exercise in the north no serious on ground engagement has happened. Instead, government is still deceiving the locals about the benefits that oil will bring them”.

“The Niger Delta is the classic example of what oil can do to people and the environment. The discovery of oil along the boundary lines of Bauchi and Gombe State has already created friction and tension among the host communities claiming ownership of oil wells and will increase land grabs and insecurity in these formerly peaceful communities”.

Adediran explained that the interactive was an eye-opener as the locals spoke frankly about how the political elites have started creating conflict among the once peaceful communities aside growing land grabs and the influx of strange people in their communities all interested in what oil would bring.

She said RDI is determined to work with grassroots organisations in the state to deepen their understanding and that of the host communities on issues around their rights, and the likely fallouts of oil exploration and gas flaring on theur lives and livelihoods. “We will work with them to ensure they learn from the mistakes of the Niger Delta where oil has become a curse. They must not be unnecessarily enthusiastic about the promised benefits of oil. Instead, the focus should be on how they can mobilize to ensure they determine what happens in their environment”, she insisted.  


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