The Senate has rejected a motion by the senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District, Isaac Alfa, seeking to recognize Kogi as an oil-producing state.
The motion which was entitled ‘Need to Recognise Kogi State as an Oil-Producing State’, was on Wednesday rejected following observations by senators at plenary that the Senate lacked the powers to declare any state as an oil-producing entity through a mere motion.
However, Senator Isaac Alfa refused to withdraw the motion despite persuasion from his colleagues to do so, saying, “I have moved the motion and I am not ready to withdraw it”.
Alfa argued that three oil companies; Shell BP (now SPDC), Elf (now Total Fina Elf) and Agip Energy, commenced oil exploration in Ibaji since 1952, precisely in Odeke, Echeno, Ihile, Anocha/Uchuchu, Omabo, Ikah, Iregwu and Ujeh, all in Ibaji of the present-day Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State.
He added that the companies collectively drilled 25 exploration wells, two appraisal wells and eight core drill wells in the entire Anambra Basin, out of which majority of the wells fall within Kogi State.
Also, he noted that the exploration activities in Kogi and part of Anambra Basin were later abandoned until July 18, 2001, when the late Abubakar Audthen, the then Kogi Governor, wrote to the then Group Managing Director of NNPC to remind him of the earlier discovery of crude oil at Odeke, Echeno, and Anocha communities in Ibaji LGA.
Alfa further recalled that on July 25, 2001, a team of geo-scientist and engineers was drafted to the area to carry out a preliminary investigation on the claims by the Kogi State Government and the resuscitation of the productive core wells, leading to the granting of an oil license now known as Oil Prospecting License 915 and 916, to an indigenous company.
“Orient Petroleum Resources Plc has been taking crude oil from OPL 915 since 2012 till date, and the percentages of crude oil in the OPL 915 among the three contesting states are as follows: Kogi, 53 per cent; Anambra, 23 per cent; Enugu, 17 per cent; and Edo, seven per cent,” he said.
However, the Senate stated that “there is a difference between oil-producing and oil-processing. They may be an oil-processing state but they have not contributed to the revenue of this country from oil. When they do that, they will become an oil-producing state.
“This issue of oil-producing cannot be decided on the floor by a motion; it has to be decided by contribution to the Federation Account.”