The Senate on Thursday mandated its committee on Petroleum (Upstream) to investigate the contention over the oil producing status of Kogi and Anambra states.
The resolution came after three senators from Kogi, Anambra and Enugu states traded of words on the issue.
First was Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu) who told his colleagues that an appointee of Anambra State, Mike Emuh, announced in a national daily that the state is an oil-producing state.
In a report by Vanguard newspaper, Mr Emuh, the National Chairman of Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCON, told traditional rulers in the state that the federal government has approved 10 modular refineries in the 11 oil producing states in the country, one of which refineries would be cited in Anambra.
Mr Emuh further said the federal government also approved the employment of 10,000 youth from oil producing states, of which 1,000 are to be employed in Anambra State.
He added that he was in the state to ask the traditional rulers to nominate a particular place the modular refinery would be cited in the state and to prepare for the selection of the youth to be employed.
Mr Utazi condemned the announcement, saying the status of Anambra as oil producing state is still being looked into.
“On the 9th of April, 2018, the Vanguard newspaper among other things said that federal government confirms Anambra State’s status as oil producing state and it was copiously reported. I want to take the senate on a history lane.
“The government of President Jonathan Goodluck on 30th of August 2012 recognized erroneously Anambra as an oil producing state. As a result of that, it sparked a lot of violent protests in Kogi and Enugu states who were part owners of this oil, OPL 915, 916 and 917.
“As a result of the violent protests in these states, the government of Jonathan, as it then was called for a meeting on the 31st of October 2012 to resolve this issue and invited into the Villa, the (then) governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi; (then Governor Idris) Wada of Kogi and the deputy of Governor of Enugu State then for a meeting.
“After looking at the issue that concerns these ownership on this oil filed, they decided to withdraw the declaration already made and ordered the National Boundary Commission to wade into this issue and find out actually who owns what, and since then the NBC has been handling this matter.
“It is on record that I brought a motion to this effect when we were handling this issue but because of the nature of that motion, Mr. President decided to stand down that motion I brought and said we should allow the National Boundary Commission to look into that issue and come up with a final resolutions that the matter would be settled amicably.”
He prayed the Senate to look into the matter and caution the state appointee from making such announcement.
“Who owns OPL 915, 916 and 917? It is contentious. The Igala speaking people in Uzuwani are laying claims, Enchenwa of Abaji local government area of Kogi are laying claims, Anambra East Local Government are laying claims,” he concluded.
Reacting, a senator from Anambra State, Andy Uba, said Mr Utazi’s submission was a lie, claiming his state has attained the status of oil-producing state.
He said, “If you recall in 2013, those that were here in the 7th Senate, I moved the motion for Anambra to be included in the oil producing state and then the issue was that every state that wants to be included must produce 120,000 barrels of oil before they would be included and Anambra has attained that. So what my colleague is saying is not true. He is lying. He is just saying his own view.”
Defending his state, Dino Melaye from Kogi said the two other senators were lying as the contentious oil well belongs to Kogi.
“So that we don’t live with an impression that is wrong. You had earlier ruled that the chairman upstream look into the issue of the conflict as regards the oil discovery but I want to say that as a senator representing Kogi, that our electric brother and friend, Senator Utazi is totally wrong and my soft-spoken senator from Anambra State is totally wrong. The oil is from Ibaji Local Government in Kogi State. It is only owned by Kogi State and I want the chairman upstream to investigate it.”
The senate referred the matter to its committee on Petroleum (Upstream).