The motion entitled, ‘Need to Recognise Kogi State as an Oil-Producing Statewith all the benefits and privileges” was rejected on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

While moving the motion, Alfa reminded the lawmakers that three oil companies, namely Shell BP (now SPDC), Elf (now Total Fina Elf) and Agip Energy, started their oil exploration in Kogi in 1952.

He said oil was explored precisely in Odeke, Echeno, Ihile, Anocha/Uchuchu, Omabo, Ikah, Iregwu and Ujeh, all of which are now under Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State.

Senator Isaac Alfa wants Kogi state to be recognised as an oil prodicing state ( Daily Trust)

According to Punch, Alfa also recalled 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, saying “ these facts were made possible through a letter to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, by the former Manager, Drilling, NPDC-NNPC, Engr. Sam A. Uchola, on 21st November, 2003.”

The senator added that exploration activities in Kogi and part of Anambra Basin were later abandoned in the state in 2001 when the then state governor, late Audu Abubakar wrote to the then Group Managing Director of NNPC to remind him of the earlier discovery of crude oil in Kogi state.

Alfa went on to remind his colleagues that a team of geo-scientist and engineers on July 25, 2001, was drafted to the area to carry out an investigation on the claims by the Kogi State Government and the resuscitation of the productive core wells, Punch reports.

That investigation according to him led to the granting of an oil license, now known as Oil Prospecting License 915 and 916, to an indigenous company known as Orient Petroleum Resources Plc. 

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.

“The Senate regrets that there has been no drilling activity from the OPL 916, which jointly belongs to Kogi, Anambra and Delta states, while Orient Petroleum has fully drilled four oil wells at OPL 915 — Wells 1, 2, 3 and 4 — with Wells 3 and 4 incontrovertibly located in Ibaji in Kogi State, accounting for 53 per cent of the crude oil, ” he said.

However, the lawmakers according to Punch overwhelmingly rejected the motion on many grounds.

Senator Chukwuka Utazi representing Enugu North said a group of lawmakers had sponsored a similar motion before.

Citing Section 162 of the Constitution, Senator Magnus Abe representing Rivers State South-East Senatorial district said the Senate had no powers to declare any state oil-producing.

He said, “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.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, also said the Senate had earlier made a resolution on the issue.