Seven days after it was flagged off by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Kolmani oil wells domiciled along the borderline between Bauchi and Gombe states have started generating tension between the two neighbouring states over ownership.
Communities in Bauchi and Gombe states are exchanging heated words over the ownership of the oil wells discovered in the border area of the states.
The development is despite the assurance by both Bauchi and Gombe states governors; Bala Mohammed and Inuwa Yahaya that the communities will eschew violence.
Each community is now claiming exclusive ownership of the drilling sites.
Kolmani oil wells: rift between Bauchi and Gombe emboldens as group warns Goje
President Muhammadu Buhari last week Tuesday flagged off the Kolmani Integrated Development Project along the Bauchi- Gombe border, the first of its kind in the zone.
In his speech during the flagging off, Buhari emphasized that the oil exploration at the Kolmani River is located between Gombe and Bauchi states.
Barr Mohammed Abdullahi Inuwa, a lawyer based in Gombe in an interview with VOA Hausa service insisted that the oil wells exclusively belong to Gombe state. “All the demarcated area consisting of the drilled wells and wells yet to be drilled are parts of Gome, that is Kolmani 2,3,4 and 5; all these areas are in Gombe, not Bauchi.”.
Inuwa alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited was being compromised to cover up the true picture of the ownership. “We are now speaking out because we learned that there are cover-ups; NNPC did so many things for Bauchi but nothing in Gombe”, he alleged.
Barrister Inuwa, however, said he can’t ascertain if there is oil in Bauchi, but the flagged-off wells are part of Gombe, only if the President was misled. “If the President says Kolmani is in Bauchi/Gombe, definitely he made a mistake and it is the conspiracy of NNPC.
On the other hand, Hon Yusuf Mohammed Bako, a member representing Pali in the Bauchi State House of Assembly dismissed Inuwa’s claims.
He said the lawyers comments about Gombe’s exclusive ownership of the oil wells is a representation of ignorance and total disregard to history.
He maintained that the area is historically owned by Bauchi State. “It is confirmed that the place is not part of Gombe – it is historically part of Bauchi state. It’s part of Alkaleri in Maimali district and all the villages surrounding the oil well are part of Alkaleri. Over 100 years ago, the traditional leaders of the area were answerable to Bauchi and pay their taxes to Bauchi”.
“The President once invited the governors and officials of NNPC to London for an enduring resolution, which sources said informed official ground-breaking and both governors Bala Mohammed and Inuwa”, he said.
In his speech during the flagging-off ceremony, Bala Mohammed said the Bauchi would maintain a peaceful and harmonious environment to ensure that investors have the freedom to operate for the benefit of the two states, investors and the nation at large, explain that the oil discovery in Kolmani would not affect the relationship between Bauchi and Gombe states.
Gombe state was created from Bauchi state in 1998 by General Sani Abacha, and the two states lived harmoniously until the recent oil discovery in their border communities which analysts say might be a reason for inter-state disputes between the two states.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited said the first phase of the exploration will entail a refinery of up to 120,000 barrels per day capacity, a gas processing plant of about 500 million standard cubic feet per day, a power plant of up to 300-megawatt capacity and a fertiliser plant of 2,500 tons per day
It’s obvious the oil well belong to Bauchi not Gombe. Barr Inuwa says nothing but his mare selfish interest. I’m solely behind Hon Baka of Pali constituency.
Actually the oil belong to Bauchi state not Gombe, supporting Hon Baka of Paly Constituency