Senate President Ahmad Lawan has warned the operators of the Kolmani Oil and Gas field not to contaminate the area like Ogoniland in the Niger Delta.

Lawan said the people of the North-East are principally farmers and land is very dear to them, hence, the operators of OPL 809 and 810 should be very cautious of how they carry out their activities in the Kolmani oil field which is between Bauchi and Gombe states.

He stated this on Tuesday when President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the Kolmani Integrated Development Project for upstream production and oil refining.

Lawan, who represents Yobe North Senatorial District in the Senate, expressed delight at the discovery of the first oil well in the frontier basins, saying more Kolmani oil fields can be discovered in Northern Nigeria.

The Senate President said, “The fact that we have oil does not automatically give us the edge that we need. But we are comforted because we have an NNPC that today can do a lot more in the area of deployment of technology, in the area of ensuring that the environment is really contaminated.

“What has happened in the Niger Delta is worrisome even though to the credit of this administration, the oil spillage and other oil contamination have been worked on in the area of clearing the spillage, especially in Ogoniland and that is something worth $1bn.

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“Your Excellency, therefore, I want to advise that the operators of OPL 809 and 810 should be very cautious and mindful of how they sustain their activities without contaminating the environment of our people.

“Our people are largely farmers and therefore land is very dear to us and we don’t want to lose any land. Our people are very cooperative and we believe that that synergy between the operators and host communities will be smooth.”

Lawan further expressed his elation that Bauchi and Gombe states will soon be getting 13% oil derivation paid by the Federal Government to oil-producing states.

The lawmaker made a case for host communities which he said bore the brunt of oil exploration by demanding that state governments dedicate some percentage to these communities. To this end, he mulled a constitutional review on the application of the 13% derivation given to states.

Ogoniland, one of the earliest oil exploration and production sites in the Niger Delta, is synonymous to environmental degradation as oil spills continue to affect the region, due to such factors as a lack of maintenance and vandalism to oil infrastructure and facilities.

In 2016, the Buhari administration flagged off the Ogoni oil spillage clean-up exercise in the Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State but rights groups in the area have said the oil spills remains untreated, or only partially remediated. The development has affected farming, fishing and other activities within the area.

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