NNPC halts oil search in the Chad basin after Boko Haram attack

The federal government on Thursday announced that it will halt oil exploration in the Chad basin for now following Tuesday’s devastating attack by Boko Haram insurgents on oil explorer’s that lead to the death of about twenty-eight people.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said the oil exploration in the area will only resume if and when security agencies give assurances of the safety of personnel of the corporation.

He said, “But if NNPC cannot do its job because of criminality, it portends danger that the economy would grind to a halt. Further activities of the corporation in the Basin will be based on sufficient security in the area.”

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“The security agencies, who are experts in the field of surveillance, will take a second look at the terrain before certifying it safe for exploration activities,’ he added.

Kachikwu, who commiserated with the families of those killed by the insurgents, however, stated that the corporation got the necessary clearance from security agencies before embarking on the trip that led to the death of scores of persons on Tuesday.

“The reality is that anytime the NNPC decides to go into a terrain, it first gets the privilege of security advice and that security advice, I can say, was sufficiently cleared,” he said.

He regretted that the team was ambushed by terrorists, but insisted that no work would be done at the site anytime soon.

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The Minister also announced that details of those who lost their lives during the attack were still being collated, saying the ministry would release the information at the appropriate time.

It will be recalled that members of an oil exploration crew working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in the region were ambushed and abducted on Tuesday by armed insurgents near Jibi Village in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State.

At least 28 people died, including soldiers, CJTF members, and University staff after rescue efforts by soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force.