Over three decades ago, Shell Petroleum ventured into an oil exploration project in Cross River State’s Ikot Offiong Community. They discovered multiple oil wells, about 30 in total, but decided to cap them due to the high gas-to-oil ratio. The wells have been concealed ever since, until recently when they were rediscovered by the local youth.
The youth of Ikot Offiong embarked on a mission to locate these historical oil points, which were drilled and capped by Shell in the 1950s. The team was successful, locating the oil wells in various parts of the community.
Asuquo Joseph, the youth leader who spearheaded the search, expressed gratitude for the natural bounty. He also urged the Federal Government to take action to ensure lasting peace in Ikot Offiong and Oku Iboku. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of developing the wells for the community’s and state’s benefit.
During an interview with The Guardian, Joseph shared his concerns about the conflict and casualties that have arisen because of the oil wells. He emphasized that it’s time to choose peace over discord.
Etubom Nyah Asuquo, the previous Nigerian Ambassador to Uganda and the clan Head of Mbiabo Ikot Offiong, also commented on the situation. He explained that Shell’s exploration in the 1950s led to the discovery of several wells with more gas than oil. Since the focus at that time was primarily on oil, the wells were abandoned. However, today, with the global demand for gas surging, these wells could prove crucial.
Etubom Asuquo has been striving to reinstate Cross River as an oil-producing state for the past eight years. He identified two oil fields in the state and registered them with the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), a Federal Government agency responsible for oil exploration licenses.
Etubom Asuquo revealed that the disputes between Ikot Offiong and Oku Iboku are rooted in the existence of the oil field.
SOURCE: The Guardian
IMAGE: The Eastern Updates