Oil discovery dispute: Kolmani oil wells belong to us, Bauchi community claims

• Bala Muhammed denies rift between Bauchi, Gombe

As controversy continues to trail the ownership of the site of oil exploration in Bauchi between communities situated in the area bordering Bauchi and Gombe states, a community Organisation in Alkaleri local government area of Bauchi state known as ‘Alkaleri Development Foundation’ is insisting that the oil wells are located in Barambu village in the local government just as the State Governor, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir has declared that there is no rift between the two states over the ownership of the site of the exploration.

The organisation in a press statement issued by its Chairman, Barrister Muslim Maigari stated that, Our attention is drawn to a statement credited to our elder statesman, Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje during a retreat organized for the newly appointed Commissioners in Gombe state calling on the Federal Government to intervene in order to determine who owns the kolmani oil wells”.

The statement further contained that, “We view this statement with concern because it is needless because the wells are situated in Barambu village of Maimadi Ward in Alkaleri local government area of Bauchi state. Although the Kolmani river is the territorial demarcation of the borderline between Akko Local Government Area of Gombe state and Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi state.” he claimed.

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Muslim Maigari who expressed confidence that the area has significant oil and gas prospects that may extend to some areas in Gombe State, stated the host communities of the drilling activities are indigenous communities to Alkaleri local government of Bauchi state.

He claims that “It is Alkaleri Local government that provides them with basic amenities like hospital, water, school, security, market, polio and immunization programmes. In fact, when they vote during elections their votes are collated at INEC office in Alkaleri”.

“The area was part of my constituency during last general elections when I contested for the seat of House of Representatives to represent Alkaleri/Kirfi Federal Constituency. I was in those communities for a campaign several times. I still visit in order to sustain my structures”, he added.

Muslim Maigari concluded that “This statement becomes necessary in order to clear the air and put things in correct perspectives”. The statement reads.

While clarifying the issue, Bala Mohammed who spoke over the weekend in Bauchi said that to his knowledge there is no any conflict between Bauchi and Gombe over oil discovery in border communities of the two states stating emphatically that the story was not true.

He declared that “As far as we are concerned, there is no conflict or tension between Bauchi and Gombe States over oil discovery in the border communities of the two states. The two states remain the same entity, Gombe was carved out of Bauchi; we are brothers and sisters, if oil is discovered in any of the border communities, we are all the same beneficiaries,” he said.

Bala Mohammed pointed out that those insinuating the conflict between the two sister states were enemies of progress who do not wish for peace and peaceful coexistence between the two states.

It will be recalled that it was recently reported that some notable Elders from Gombe state had called on President Muhammdu Buhari to as a matter of urgency intervene in a lingering tension brewing between the two states over ownership of sites where wells are sited following the discovery of oil and gas in the Benue trough of the Gongola Basin.

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