By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Convinced that his state could earn additional revenue from natural resources found in his domain, Gombe State Governor, Mohammed Yahaya Friday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock Villa, Abuja to urge him to prevail on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to begin oil and gas exploitation in the Gongola basin.
Gov. Yahaya who spoke to State House Correspondents after the meeting, said that he had a fruitful discussion with Mr. President on various issues affecting his state including the need for the exploration of oil and gas in Gongola basin.
He argued that the exploration of oil and gas would trigger economic activities and create jobs for the states in the region.
He said: “With the discovery of oil and gas in Gombe and Bauchi states, and specifically, in the whole of Gongola Basin, we seek to get the support or the federal government, so the pressure will be mounted on the Nigerian National Petroleum cooperation NNPC and the DPR for them to see to the fact that the exploitation oil and gas deposit that is available in Gombe and in fact the wider Gongola Bsin is encouraged so that economic activities will be triggered, our people will have jobs and the Gombe will join the league of oil producing states.”
He also revealed that one of his reasons of meeting the president was to show his solidarity over the way he has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, which he assured, would soon be a thing of the past.
He also said his mission was to bring to Buhari’s notice, the pressure placed on Gombe state by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) arriving from states where Boko Haram is active.
Similarly, he said two local governments areas in the state have been affected by flood, displacing people and creating gullies.
He said he sought the intervention of the president to enable the state to tackle the menaces.
Yahaya stated: “My mission to Mr. President is to one, show solidarity and compliments from the people of Gombe, especially from the way and manner he has been able to shoulder the big responsibility of managing this country, especially during the pandemic. We are even going out of the pandemic very soon.
“Just to congratulate and appreciative him for what he has been doing. It’s been quite long we met and I felt there is need for us to meet and talk.
“Secondly, Gombe has been shouldering responsibility as regards to IDPs and influx of people who because of the insurgency and displacement from the neigbouring states have relocated to Gombe.
“So, that puts a lot of stress on our resources both education, social and environmental and what have you. And as a result, we are having a lot of issues and we need to share and seek guidance from Mr. President as to how to manage the issues around insecurity and the people who have been displaced.
“Thirdly, the issue of recent flood that have been affecting the whole country. Much as we don’t have rivers around Gombe but the flood around the river banks of Gongola, which is covering two of the local government areas has equally affected us and also resettlement of most of our people.
“But most importantly, because Gombe is situated between valley and because of poor practices and lack of proper environmental management, gollies all have developed.
“You might have seen in the last few weeks, the effect of gully erosion in Gombe state. So, erosional upset has really devastated the lives of our people and has really become a problem and there is need for us to seek support from the federal government.
“As at the moment, there are 200 active gullies in Gombe which has affected the lives and livelihoods of a lot our people. So, we brought that to the notice to Mr. President for him to see how best he could attend and render some help especially from the ministry of environment, and more importantly, through the federal government understanding with the World Bank via the water management and water shed project which Gombe has keyed in but is yet take off.
“Once we are able to get that, we hope our problem of gully erosions will be solved partially if not fully. “
On the number of people displaced by flood, the governor remarked that over 3,200 families have been displaced, saying that government is trying to provide them with alternatives.
He explained: “Of recent, in two local governments we had about 3,200 families that have been dislocated. But we have been trying to provide alternatives.
“At the moment, we designing layouts from which we will relocate all resettlements that are on flood planes and on gullies which are normally susceptible to floods.
“Those that have been displaced by insurgency have resettled amongst our people. As far as the issue of displaced persons are concerned, neighboring Borno and Yobe, we have an arrangement for them to settle with our people, so we don’t have IDPS camps per say. So, the people have acclimatized and have gotten used to living with our people and they are doing very well.”