Senate Rejects Kogi Status of Oil Producing State

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By: Joy Odor/Abuja

Senate has rejected a motion seeking the law to recognize Kogi as oil producing state which was rejected, followed observations by lawmakers on the impossibility of the Senate to recognize Kogi as one of the oil producing states through adoption of mere motion sponsored by Senator Isaac Alfa, PDP-Kogi East.

Efforts by the lawmakers to convince the sponsor to withdraw the motion didn’t yield result as he declared that “I have made the motion and I’m not ready to withdraw it”.

The upper legislative chamber, however, urged the governors of Anambra, Dr. Willie Obiano, Enugu, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to resolve the communal crises among the various communities in the states.

It particularly advised the communities of Ibaji, Igga and Aguleri out of Kogi, Enugu and Anambra States to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign while the National Boundary Commission delineate the correct boundaries.

The Senate also urged the federal government to direct the commission to immediately release its report on the determination of the boundaries contiguous to OPLs 915 & 916.

Similarly, it asked the government to ensure that the displaced communities in the disputed area due to the hostilities, are allowed to return to their ancestral homes and compensated for their loss.

Presenting the bill before its rejection, Sen. Alfa informed that oil exploration commenced in Ibaji as far back as 1952 by three companies -Shell BP now known as Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC; Elf, now Total Fina Elf and AGIP Energy.

He said the companies collectively drilled 25 exploration wells, two appraisal wells and eight core drill wells in the entire Anambra Basin out of which majority of them fall within Kogi State with facts made available through a letter,c dated November 21, 2003 to the Nigerian President by the former manager, drilling (NPDC-NNPC), Engr. Sam A. Uchola.

Opposing the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, PDP-Enugu East, reminded his colleagues that the Senate had since agreed that the three states should work together with acceptable percentages before they could be jointly declared oil producing states, advising the sponsor to withdraw the motion.

Also, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu sought withdrawal of the motion since the upper legislative chamber could not by a motion declare any Kogi an oil producing state, adding that the Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), handling the matter is also yet to submit its report.

Senator Magnus Abe, APC-Rivers South East also opposed the motion, explaining that the Senate, in accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution has no power to recognize Kogi, which has never contributed anything to the Federation account as oil producing state.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, APC-Ondo Central, pleaded for two weeks to submit report of the committee, saying members had met twice and also had discussions with the boundary commission on the matter.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, directed the Committees on State and Local Governments, and Petroleum (Upstream) to ensure compliance with resolutions of the upper legislative chamber.

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