18 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu has described the oil in the Lake Chad, Sokoto and River Benue basins in the North by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as “desperate”, prompted by the fear of political restructuring.
Ekweremadu said this while presenting the third edition of the Adada Lecture Series, organised by the Association of Nsukka Professors, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Speaking in a paper entitled, ‘Restructuring and the Nigerian Youth’, the Senate leader said oil revenue will soon lose its relevance as electric cars take over from petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
Ekweremadu noted that contrary to fears held by some sections of the country that they would lose out if the country was restructured, the entire nation would benefit from restructuring.
He said, “Some are afraid of survival under fiscal federalism. They feel they are better off with free monies from Abuja, which could actually be a pittance compared to what they could generate if they begin to access the bountiful wealth buried in their soils.
“I have also noticed a desperate search for oil in the Lake Chad, Sokoto, and Benue River basins in recent times, obviously spurred by the campaign for restructuring.
“But it is an unfounded fear. The days of oil are numbered. It is the least strategic wealth we have now. Many countries have found oil in large quantities, including those that used to patronise us for oil. Importantly, many nations are already phasing out petrol and diesel engines.”
According to him, “In July 2017, the United Kingdom announced plans to stop the production of petrol- and gas-powered cars from 2040. France has also unveiled plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040.
“Norway has strong policy actions to ensure that zero fossil fuel cars are sold in the country by 2025. With the second highest concentration of electric cars in Europe, Netherlands is already targeting an emission-free environment by 2030, which automatically rules out petrol- and diesel-powered cars.
“In fact, Netherlands wants at least 200,000 electric cars on her roads by the year 2020, which is only two years from now.”
Ekweremadu said the North had more to gain by embracing fiscal federalism, and relinquishing its ‘supposed advantages’ in the current structure.
Following a presidential directive, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has said the Corporation would not give up on the mandate given to it by President Muhammadu Buhari to aggressively explore the inland basins, including Bida, Benue, Chad, Gongola, and Sokoto.