Oct 16,2011 – As a way of boosting its Internally Generated Revenue and to be more economically independent, the Niger State government yesterday raised a 24-man high powered committee to liaise with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to commence the exploration of crude oil in Bida Basin of the state.
Inaugurating the committee in Minna yesterday, the state governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said that the government is excited at the prospect of discovering oil in the Bida Basin, adding that the commodity will enhance the economy of the state.
He said that the committee was inaugurated in order to ensure that adequate mechanism is put in place to mitigate the effect of oil exploration on the host communities.
Aliyu then said that the committee will also look into means of managing the situation of handling the revenue from the crude oil when it is discovered stressing that such discovery can be a curse rather than a blessing to the state if it is not properly managed.
According to him, “This is the reason why we put together this committee of experienced people to comprehensively look at the prospect and implication of oil for our socio-economic development.”
The governor added that though the state is looking at a means of generating revenue through crude oil, it does not intend to abandon agriculture and other solid minerals that are of economic advantage to the state. He charged the committee members to look beyond the environmental impact of oil discovery to the state but look at its impact on the people socio-economic means.
“We cannot afford to abandon agriculture and solid minerals resources for any reason for there lay the economic advantage of the state. To do so will be at a great risk and price”, the governor stated.
He urged the committee members to consider investors who are of great influence in the oil industry with globally acknowledged reputation just as he warned them against embarking on a trial and error mission.
The Chairman of the committee and former Chief of Army Staff, General Muhammed Inuwa Wushishi in his response thanked the governor for placing confidence in the committee to look at crude oil as another means of revenue generation in the state.
He noted that the discovery of oil in commercial quantity will also enhance the state government internally generated revenue and generate employment for the teeming youths of the state adding that though the committee has been given a challenge, it can realize and achieve the goal. (the Nation)