By Aliyu Mahmud Amoto
The controversy over ownership of the oil deposits situated between Ibaji Area, Idah-1 , Alade-l, Atu-l , Inni-1 in Kogi State; Eziagulu Otu, Enugwu Otu, Nzam, Ezi-Anam, Anaku, Omor in Anambra State and Igga, Ojo, Uzo Uwani Areas in Enugu State has been a thing of concern to all well meaning Kogites.
The Kogi state Government had discovered the oil deposit in Ibaji Local Government as far back as in the 1950s, The efforts to get the federal government attention was initiated in 2001 by the former Governor of Kogi State Late Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memories by sending a letter to the then Group Managing Director of NNPC, notifying the corporation of the discovery of crude oil in Ibaji Local Government Area, but as it seems nothing was done about it.
The two border communities of Aguleri Otu, Anambra East Local Government Area and Echeme/Odeke in Ibaji, have been laying claims to the oil deposits found in the Omambala River basin which has caused much conflict between the neighboring communities, many are of believe that the unilateral decision of declaring Anambra an oil producing state by former president Gooodluck Jonathan in 2012 was tilted wrongly to favor Anambra state as alot were not put in proper perspective before the announcement was made, aside the fact that more than 52 percent of the oil wells allocated to the Anambra State were in Kogi State, There are many physical evidences to show that the ongoing oil exploration by orient petroleum resources and others are done in Kogi State land.
Kogi state have an edge over anambra considering the border demarcation set aside by National Boundary commission in the past.
It is worthy to note that oil exploration/mining activities have begun in the Basin since 2012, the federal Government has successfully drilled four oil wells in Kogi, Edo and Anambra states respectively. two out of the four oil wells were located in Ibaji, Kogi state.The quantity of crude being lifted according to the official website of Orient Petroleum Resources Plc from these wells is about 33,000 barrels per day which accounts for oil in Ibaji and other parts of Kogi State like Alade in Igalamela/Odudu Local Government Area.
one of the criteria to be considered before a state can be declared an oil producing state is that it must have an oil well which is capable of producing upto 10,000 barrels per day and by all standards Kogi State has measure up to this criteria.
Though the commercial viability of the oil and gas deposits in Anambra-Kogi Basin is yet to be ascertained but am of strong opinion the federal government should review the status of the confluence state, being the state with bulk of the deposit of the crude oil there is need for the federal government to take cognizance of the on-going field tracing and provisional boundary demarcation between the the states by the National Boundary Commission and review the past announcement and declare Kogi State an oil producing state and immediately be given all the necessary federal attention needed so as to help develope the social and economic activities in the state.
With this development, the state will start getting extra revenue from the 13 per cent derivation fund as soon as oil produced from the state starts contributing to the federation account.