Nigeria Stops Oil Exploration in Lake Chad Basin After Spending Billions, Boko Haram Attack

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The Federal Government on Thursday said it would halt oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin following Tuesday’s attack on explorers that led to at least 27 deaths.

The government also gave reasons why it continued with the exploration despite Boko Haram attacks in Borno, saying it did so only after it got security assurances from the military.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who said these on Thursday, said Nigeria will only resume its search for oil in the Lake Chad Basin when it gets security clearance.

Mr. Kachikwu described Tuesday’s kidnap of oil workers by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in the area as a major setback to Nigeria’s quest for oil in the northern part of the country.

The minister, who was speaking with journalists in Abuja, said following the attack, government resolved to suspend oil exploration activities in the Basin until the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC received security clearance to resume.

Members of an oil exploration crew working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in the region were ambushed and abducted on Tuesday by armed insurgents near Jibi Village in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how at least 27 people died after rescue efforts by soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF. The victims included soldiers, CJTF members, and university staff.

One of the staff of the University of Maiduguri killed during the attack was buried on Thursday.

While addressing journalists, Mr. Kachikwu sympathised with the families of the victims of the Boko Haram attack.

The Minister said details of those who lost their lives during the attack were still being collated, saying the ministry would release the information at the appropriate time.

The NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, had said members of the exploration crew consisted of staff of the Geology Department of the University of Maiduguri hired as sub-contractors to two NNPC subsidiaries: the Integrated Data Services Limited, IDSL and Frontiers Exploration Services, FES.

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