Following the attacks on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) staff by the Boko Haram terrorists group in Borno State, the Federal Government Thursday announced the suspension of crude oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Chairman of NNPC Board, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, who stated this at a press briefing in Abuja said NNPC would only resume production if it gets sufficient assurance and security clearance from the military authorities, guaranteeing the safety of its personnel and operations.
He said: “Whether we will resume, obviously, will depend again on what security clearance is given. Certainly, we will not go back unless they give us clearance; just like we did not go in before they gave us clearance. Provided they are sufficient security clearance, I don’t see why we would not continue to push.”
The Minister described the incidence as unfortunate, just as he lamented that the attack still occurred after over six months in that area and despite the fact that there were over 200 security personnel protecting the oil exploration team, comprising members of the military and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and others.
He said: “The lessons we are going to take away from this incidence is that we are going to look at the security apparatus and find out whether they are a little bit more we can do. I know that they were over 200 security personnel, between the military, the CJTF and others. They were very well protected, and as I said, the activities had been going on for over six months.
“Obviously, we can imagine that the security operatives, who are more of experts in this, would take a second look at what has happened, and like the learning that they take from every area where Boko Haram is operating, they would look to see what more protection that would be put in place.”