•Four oil wells are in Gombe, boundary commission hypocritical, says gov’t special adviser
•Kolmani is in Gombe, late NNPC GMD duped Buhari, N’Delta stage looming – Residents
•Subject that takes a different dimension, the Bauchi government will consult, the commissioner assures the interested parties
It appears that a crisis is brewing over the ownership of the Kolmani oil and gas field, as Bauchi and Gombe states have started laying claim to the oil wells.
Officials and residents of the two states also accused each other of trying to grab the site, which is said to contain 1 billion barrels of crude oil reserves and 500 billion standard cubic feet of gas.
The development comes just two weeks after President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) inaugurated oil exploration in the Kolmani oil field by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited and its joint venture partners.
Kolmani in northeast Nigeria reportedly has oil in commercial quantities with oil prospecting licenses 809 and 810, traversing Kolmani One, Two, Three, Four and Five.
Speaking during the event, Buhari revealed that the project has attracted investments of more than $3 billion so far.
The president said: “We are pleased with the current discovery of more than 1 trillion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas within the Kolmani area and the enormous potential for more deposits as we intensify efforts to exploration”.
“Therefore, it is to the credit of this administration that at a time when there is almost no appetite for investing in fossil energy, coupled with the challenges of location, we are able to attract investments in excess of $3 billion for this project.” said. additional.
Buhari noted that the governors of Bauchi and Gombe states have assured their unwavering commitment and willingness to ensure support and cooperation in the localities.
However, the governors’ assurances appeared to have been forgotten as the two states declared they were the rightful owners of the oil-rich field.
Gombe claims ownership
While harping on Gombe’s ownership of the controversial Kolmani field, the special adviser to the Gombe state governor on information management and strategy, Alhaji Ahmed Gara-Gombe, blamed the boundary commission for the controversy.
He said: “The truth of the matter is that the Kolmani oil well is in Gombe State; Akko Local Government, Pindiga Emirate, Tai District, Kaltanga Mamuda District. It has nothing to do with Bauchi State or Alkaleri local government.
“If setting the record straight is what counts as a crisis, then so be it. The National Limits Commission, the NNPC are hypocrites in this matter, they know the truth and they should come out clean.”
According to Gara-Gombe, the solution is to give Gombe what belongs to him, adding: “Kolmani One is in the Bauchi estate in Alkeleri, let them go and explore that one. There are four oil wells in Gombe.”
He noted: “Again, we need an independent jury to determine and verify our claims. Our people, whose land was dubiously taken in the name of the access road and received between N64,000 and N117,000 as compensation from the NNPC, must be properly paid.
“NNPC should go to the Gombe side and also build a road like they did on the Bauchi side. Also, Pindiga (Gombe) to Kolmani is shorter and friendlier terrain than Bauchi (side) which is longer and hostile terrain.”
The interested party reacts
Echoing the assistant governor, a lawyer, Abdullahi Inuwa, blamed a recently deceased former director general of the NNPC group for awarding the land to Bauchi state.
The late NNPC GMD was reportedly an indigenous person from Misau, Bauchi State.
Inuwa explained that his capercaillie was not with the Federal Government but with the NNPC, noting that the president was wrong about the true owners of the land.
He said: “The real position is that we do not accuse the Federal Government directly, but our accusation targets the NNPC, not the Federal Government per se. We are accusing the NNPC, since the last days of GMD, of manipulation; for trying to create a smokescreen by portraying the fact that Kolmani is in Bauchi, while Kolmani is in Gombe.
“There is a Kolmani village headman, who reports to the district headman, who also reports to the Pindiga emirate under the local government of Akko. Our position is that Kolmani is in Gombe, not Bauchi.
“The federal government or the president have been deceived by the NNPC, especially the highest ranking officials of the NNPC who are originally from Bauchi State,” Inuwa further alleged.
He declined to speak further about how the defunct NNPC GMD allegedly caused the brewing dispute, but simply stated that the NNPC had shown a preference for the Bauchi state.
He said: “If you go to Misau, you will see so many developments made by the NNPC in Misau, where the late GMD came from. On the subject of wells built by NNPC in the area, there are more wells on the Bauchi side and less on the Gombe side.
“In addition, that area in Bauchi where oil is alleged to have been discovered from the borders, the entire fenced block is on the Gombe side, there is no area on the Bauchi side surrounded by walls where oil is being drilled.
”And not only that, if you are going to go to Barambu during the administration of NNPC GMD, I was informed about a shop built by NNPC in Barambu, which is part of Bauchi and told that there is a laboratory there.
“If they had treated us fairly, whether Kolmani is in Bauchi or Gombe, we would remain silent, we would not say anything. As time goes by, the way we’re treated like we don’t know what we’re doing is what caused us to come out and voice our grievances and also tell the world that’s where we stand; that we are not ready to give up Kolmani, which is in the process of annexation on the Bauchi side through the NNPC.”
Inuwa assured that the dispute would not degenerate into violence, indicating that they were ready for dialogue.
He said: “We have heard about the challenges in the Niger Delta, but sadly in this case it is the government through the selfish interest of the NNPC that is trying to create trouble and disharmony.
“Some of us have parents who came from the other side, from the Bauchi side; we go to their market, they come to our market. We get married, we are one. Senior NNPC officials must remember the loyalty oath; they are first from Nigeria before they consider themselves indigenous to Bauchi.”
Speaking further, he stated: “I don’t think it will intensify to the extent of the Niger Delta. From the beginning, if someone like the late NNPC GMD had involved both communities on both sides of the border, it would not have escalated. Our doors are not closed for dialogue, I think our leaders will resolve it amicably.”
A resident of Pindiga, Gombe state, Salisu Mohammed, said they would not be allowed to move them to Bauchi, adding that the oil discovery should not be a reason to lose origin.
He said: “We are casting our votes regarding the Gombe State Assembly and not the Bauchi Assembly House. We are not ready to be taken away by oil to a different state.”
The Bauchi government reacts
Speaking to our correspondent by phone, Bauchi State Information Commissioner Yakubu Ningi said the state government would consult widely before releasing its position on the matter to the public.
He said: “Although the governor has been invited to speak on the subject on a television program, it was not because he realized that the matter is taking another dimension.
“He wants to have broader consultations after which the Bauchi state government’s position on the matter will be made public. His Excellency said that he will need to give us some time to articulate our position before posting further.”
‘Bauchi owns Kolmani’
Reacting to Gombe’s claims to the oil field, Muhammad Bako, a member representing the Pali constituency in the Bauchi State House of Assembly, where the area is located, stressed that the area belonged to Bauchi.
He added: “This issue is not a youth issue because when you bring in the youth, the issue has become child’s play. They are being sponsored by people and they don’t know exactly where the limit is.
“The chairman of the National Boundary Commission comes from Gombe State, but when the issue of checking the boundary came up, he went and saw it (the boundary); they were thinking that the limit was at Gombe.
“But when they saw it, they left and never came back because they saw the truth that the oil was in Bauchi and not in Gombe. And you know that when people want to cause trouble or crisis, they use the young, but I ask them not to cause trouble that will consume them. They are being sponsored by people who don’t know anything about this oil.”
Going down memory lane, the lawmaker said the oil was first discovered when Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was a minister.
Bako argued: “This oil was first discovered when Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the minister of works; It was then that the history of this oil began. Then, during the late General Sani Abacha’s regime, he started drilling for oil in Barumbu and later died.
“When Olusegun Obasanjo came in, he supposedly sent (messages) and the oil well was blocked, and the issue was no longer discussed. So when Buhari arrived, he started drilling again.”
“The (oil well) in Barumbu has just been washed out. And then, two new ones were drilled. The one that was thrown in Barumbu and the two new ones are not in Gombe. The boundary between Bauchi and Gombe and these oil wells is up to 20 kilometers,” he stated.
To back up his argument that the area belongs to Bauchi, the legislator said that all the communities in the jurisdiction were paying taxes to the state government.
He added: “There are traditional rulers in Bauchi and Gombe states. Those communities where the oil has been found, all their traditional leaders pay their taxes to the Bauchi State government. The traditional rulers of Gombe have been paying their taxes to Gombe for the past 100 years.
“So if a traditional ruler dies in any of those communities, would Gombe State install a new one? He will be installed by the Bauchi State government, and not by Gombe. And for that, they have no excuse.”
The legislator called for peace, warning the people of the area not to promote militancy for the discovery of oil.
In response to Bako’s claims, the Gombe Governor’s press aide Gara-Gombe simply stated: “Does this mean that the chairman of the National Boundary Commission who is from there, who is his son, has rejected his status?” native and now supports Bauchi? Do they love Gombe more than him? You have to ask him to give you an answer.
The limits commission reacts
Commenting on the controversy, the Deputy Director of the National Boundary Commission, Mr. Emmanuel Bulus, said that the agency was not aware of the dispute over the oil field.
Asked if NBC would take up the dispute, he said that only the commission’s director general, Adamu Adaji, could speak on the matter, adding that he was out of Abuja at the moment.
For his part, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said the focus should rather be on oil production from the wells at the moment.
“Let’s worry more about the oil supply for now. This (ownership fight) can wait,” he stated.