Lagos — The senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District at the Senate, Nicholas Tofowomo, has proposed the establishment of a bitumen training institute in Ondo State.
The senator made the proposal in a motion before the Senate, which sought the establishment of the bitumen training institute in Ode Aye.
Tofowomo sponsored the bill for the establishment of the institute, which has already passed first reading at the red chamber of the National Assembly, saying the institute would lead to massive exploration of the mineral in the state.
The senator, who stated that Ondo South has the largest bitumen deposit in Nigeria and the second largest in the world, said: “A lot of debate has taken place on bitumen by Ondo State and even the Federal Government with many promises since 1999 without any action till date.
“I believe that a bitumen institute will bring experts together. Bitumen is not a resource that a state can package alone, except we are just deceiving ourselves.
“This institute will bring all the necessary parties together, including experts from abroad, and we will start exploring bitumen in Nigeria to add value to our economy.
“We can’t be looking at crude oil all the time as a major source of income to Nigeria. We are constructing roads and we are doing all sorts of things with bitumen.
He continued: “We can’t continue to waste our scarce foreign exchange earnings to import most essential especially on bitumen which is lying fallow in the country.
“On April 2019, according to media reports, Nigeria imported over five million metric tonnes of bitumen even when we have it at our backyard”.