Benue govt assures NNPC’s staff safety as oil exploration begins

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TRACKING >As the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) sets to commence oil exploration in Benue state next month, the government has assured the corporation of security and safety of its staffers.

This assurance was made by Benue State Government, Governor Samuel Ortom, at the Government House, Makurdi, when the NNPC exploration team led by Dorathy Umoetok, Executive Director, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) visited him.

Represented by his deputy, Engr Benson Abounu, Ortom said the government would put in place the needed security measures to guarantee the safety and unhindered work of the team.

He expressed delight Benue State constitutes 70 percent of the area in the Benue believed to contain hydrocarbon and called on people of the state, particularly residents of Makurdi, Guma, Ohimini, Gwer West, Apa, Agatu and Otukpo local government areas where the exploration work will take place to receive the team warmly and avail them of every assistance.

Ortom, who charged traditional rulers and council chairmen from the affected areas to help provide the needed peaceful atmosphere for the team to work, warned the government would deal squarely with anyone or group of people in any community that constitute obstacle to the exploration work.

NNPC’s team leader, Dorathy Umoetok explained the visit was a follow-up to a previous exercise by the out-going NNPC Group Managing Director Engr. Dr Maikanti Baru last year to seek the guarantee of the safety and security of the lives of the exploration team so that they could commence work.

Umoetok, who expressed joy that the security situation in the state has changed tremendously, said the atmosphere is now good for exploration work.

He disclosed the NNPC has already concluded the aerial surveillance, drawn the aerial maps, and done the interpretation and other activities leading to the actual exploration.

According to her NNPC does not toy with the safety and security of members of its team, and solicited from the government and traditional rulers in the 7 local government areas a guarantee of their safety and security, assuring that the communities have many things to gain from the partnership with them.