Two weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan declared Anambra as Nigeria’s 10th oil-producing state following his inauguration of the state’s first oil refinery, the Kogi State government has amplified its claims to the oil wells that will serve the refinery.
This position has provoked a war of words between governors Peter Obi of Anambra and Idris Wada of Kogi. The standoff reached a belligerent crescendo yesterday.
In a statewide broadcast yesterday at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, Governor Obi disputed the claims by Kogi State, alleging that it was trying to spoil the joy of indigenes of his state. But Obi’s position has cut little ice with Wada who maintained that the field belongs to Kogi and that Anambra was being unduly desperate.
Obi said the state had invested N4bn in the venture and that the oil field is rightly located in Anambra State, adding that activities that led to the discovery did not receive any financial contribution from those claiming to own it.
“Under my government, with the vision and belief of positive impact of the project on the economy of the state and country, we invested N4.4billion in the project, which bolstered the confidence of other investors to invest in the venture that made the commissioning a reality.
“It is pertinent to note that, till date, neither the group or states laying claims to the oil fields have directly or indirectly invested a kobo in the project, while Anambra State has invested several billions.”
The governor stated that Anambra believes in good neighbourliness and would in conformity with its nature pray for other states to discover oil or other minerals in their areas. People’s hard work, sacrifices and investments should match their opportunities, he added.
Though the governor did not mention the names of the states or groups contending the oil fields with the state, he called on such states to work hard to explore their states for mineral deposits as the oil field in question is rightly embedded in Anambra’s soil. In his own reaction yesterday, Governor Wada told LEADERSHIP that the oil in question belongs to the Kogi State.
Governor Wada, who spoke through his special adviser, media and strategy, Jacob Edi, said: “Look, make no mistakes about it; the oil in question belongs to Kogi State. I can understand the desperation of Anambra State. You can only be seen to be struggling for what does not belong to you.
"The mere location of the refinery outside Kogi doesn’t make the location site of the refinery an oil-producing state. Otherwise, Kaduna should have been declared an oil-producing state a long time ago. For purposes of emphasis, the oil is found in Ibaji local government area of Kogi State."