For the second time in three weeks, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has received an express order from President Muhammadu Buhari to explore for oil in the North.
This time, the President directed the national oil firm to commence exploration activities in the Benue Trough. The Benue Trough is a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000km North-East from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed the President’s directive on the oil exploration in the North while receiving a delegation from the Benue State Government at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.
About three weeks ago, the President had directed the corporation to speed up its prospect for oil in the region, specifically in the Chad Basin and Kolmani River, following the reported discovery of hydrocarbons by Shell in the area.
The 19 northern state governors are also fired up about the prospect of oil production in their domain as they have hired a British firm through the Northern Nigeria Development Company, which they jointly own, to carry out the exploration activities.
But energy analysts and several socio-cultural and other interest groups on Tuesday expressed divergent views on the pressure by the President on the NNPC as regards oil exploration in the North.
The NNPC GMD, in a statement from the corporation on Tuesday, said the new directive was in line with the current efforts to guarantee energy security of the country.