1 December 2012

Nigeria: North - Oil Search and Insecurity


At the 30th Annual International conference and Exhibitions on NAPE held in Lagos some time ago, the Group Managing Director of NNPC Engineer Andrew Yakubu attributed the slow down on search for oil in the North to insecurity.

In a statement issued by the Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr Fidel I Pepple, Engineer Yakubu admitted that the geological reports from some of the basins indicated that more potentials may abound in the basins but stressed that security challenges have slowed down the efforts of these oil searches.

Indeed, for quite some time, precisely in the last three years or so, there were nothing that kept dominating national discourse in this country more than the issue of insecurity, particularly in the Northern region. At every public or private gathering, insecurity in the North always features prominently as if that is our only trouble in this country. All other menaces that militate against our progress and development have been relegated to the background. Of particular interest is the issue of Boko Haram insurgency. Some view the insurgency as part of wider plan to 'islamize' Nigeria while others see the insurgency as open declaration against our sovereignty and corporate existence as a nation, but whichever way one looks at it, our problem in this country goes beyond the issue of Boko Haram insurgency. But some, for reasons best known to them, select to always keep the menace of Boko Haram in the front burner to not only divert attention but to deny the North peace ahead of 2015 election year.

Apart from political reasons, there are also an economic dimension to this phenomenon of insecurity and the attendant exaggeration of its implication to the peace in the North. One will be quick to accept, in view of the glaring instances, that insecurity in the North was deliberately created and nurtured ostensibly to also frustrate any genuine attempt at exploring and exploiting the large crude oil deposits in the Northern region. Since the agitations for oil search in the North started gathering momentum, within a short span of time, we woke-up to the news of unrest and violence which today devastated virtually the entire Northern part of the country making it impossible for the exploitation of these crude oil deposits as we were told by NNPC's Group Managing Director at 30th NAPE Conference.

Against this background and looking at the whole scenario one will be tempted to believe that the insecurity in the North is but a conspiracy designed to stop the North from advancing not only in area of crude oil search but also in all fields of human endeavors. From Maiduguri to Sokoto and from Niger to Kogi, it was the same conspiracy that is working out aimed at retarding any progress which might have been made on oil search in these states.

In Kogi state, for example, the unrest and violence that engulfed parts of Okene area in the recent time occasioned by Boko Haram phenomenon was, as it appeared, an attempt to frustrate the exploitation of oil deposits abound in the state, so also the recent inroad into Sokoto resulting to the bombing of Zonal Police Headquarters. As with Kogi, the motive was to cause unrest and violence to scare away further exploration of oil in these areas. Since the intention was to destroy the North economically and politically, the only surest way of doing that was to create phantom unrest and violence all the over the region. And they found our vulnerable youth as convenient tool to actualize their dream against the North.

The issue of insecurity in the North, as we can see, was phantom and was conceived only to destabilize the North, but real insecurity could actually be found in the southern states where one hardly stays outside beyond 8pm for fear of the unknown. In most of the southern states all businesses and other social interactions must be done in the day time or else you risk being either robbed of your belongings, or being killed or kidnapped. But up North, despite all the much talked about insecurity, one is totally free and can transect business or carry-out social interaction without any molestation at any time of the day or night.

Despite high rate of crime in southern states, yet nobody cares to classify or refer to these states as insecure. From the foregoing, one will realize that insecurity is more prevalent in the south than north, Boko Haram phenomenon notwithstanding.

On this score, one will of course be left with no option than to reach to the sad conclusion that we in the North are put into this mess for fear of our population and for fear our prospects economically. For us in the North to develop, some think it is better for the country to disintegrate; that has been the conspiracy. When USA some time back said Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015, we all laughed over the prediction. But now see what is happening, all is tending towards the prediction. Our leaders from both sides of the divide must realize the need for us to put all differences aside and start working to ensure the sustenance of peace and unity of this country in the interest of not only ourselves but in the interest of the generation yet unborn.

Bala sent in this piece from Lafia, Nasarawa state.

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