From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has assured that the two biofuel projects being carried out in Benue State would create more than one million direct and indirect jobs for the host communities.
The NNPC GMD, who paid a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom, at the Government House, in Makurdi, on Wednesday, explained that the visit was in fulfillment of the Presidential directive given the NNPC by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 to resume oil exploration activities in some of the nation’s inland basins including the Benue trough and the Chad basin.
Baru, who posited that the visit was also to kick start high-profile stakeholders engagement towards the projects in the state, noted that his organization had already commissioned Environmental Baseline studies to assess all aspects of the natural environment to determine how best to carry out seismic acquisition operations without harm to the people, the ecosystem and the environment.
The NNPC GMD, who maintained that the visit was intended to explore and update the state government on the company’s biofuel project in Agasha, Guma Local Government Area, of the state, explained further that NNPC through FES had already mobilised the Integrated Data Services Ltd ((IDSL), an upstream arm of the NNPC to acquire the seismic data in the Benue Trough commencing from Ondori ( main camp) at the boundary between Benue and Nasarawa.
He added that the work would cut across Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West and Logo local government areas of the state stressing that the company handling the project will begin work soon and solicited support of the government towards the protection of the company’s cables and equipment from theft and vandalism.
Baru also listed other benefits to be derived from the projects would to include, sugarcane feed, stock plantation of 20,000 hectares, cane mills and raw/refined sugar plant that will produce 126000 tones per annum, fuel ethanol processing plant of 84 million litres a year, and 63000 tons of animal feed a year among others.
Responding, the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom while expressing happiness to receive the NNPC management, maintained that Benue had a lot to benefit from the biogas projects and promised that the state government was ready to give maximum support and guarantee security to the project to ensure smooth construction and its eventual take off.
The governor announced the constitution of a high powered committee headed by the Deputy governor Engr. Benson Abounu to work with the leadership of the NNPC to ensure that the project is actualised.
He therefore called on all stakeholders to support the programme to fruition, as according to him, the establishment of the projects in the state was necessary to create employment and close gap of the high unemployment level in the country.