From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
A One-time Senator, Salisu Musa Matori has expressed regret that had the gas discovered in the 90s at Kolmani River in Alkaleri of the Benue Trough been exploited and utilised, the insurgency now bedevilling the North would not rear its ugly heads.
He recalled that shortly after the gas discovery in kolmani, a Power Generating Plant was designed to provide energy for the sub-region, but the project was bogged down for lack of political will on the part of Government.
Matori, said the company, Gazpront in co-operation with the Federal government then incorporated a company called NIGAZ that confirmed the availability of gas in commercial quantity at the Kolmani River of the Benue Trough.
The Senator in an interview with journalists in Bauchi, weekend, declared “By now I think the whole of northeast at least, we would have been energy sufficient, but unfortunately it was not followed”.
“Had that has been done, today the story, the economic picture, the social well-being of the people, and the entire economic picture of the North-east region, talk less of Bauchi or Gombe would have been different”, he frowned.
He explained that initially four oil companies, Shell, Chevron, Mobil, and Elf were each given a block to explore for oil in the Benue Trough which prospects made the companies construct primary schools, health centres, and dispensaries, among others.
Alhaji Salisu Matori recalled that the planned Power Generating Plant when operational would have been providing the energy needs of not only the North-east region but the entire Northern Nigeria.
“Initially the plant will give you 20 megawatts, and within 18 months shoot up to 200 megawatts, from there to 500 megawatts, and that’s how you will continue to expand it into Northern Nigeria but unfortunately that was not pursued”, he lamented.
Matori attributed the abandoning of the oil finds in Benue Trough and Chad basin, and the bogging down of the planned power generating project to lackadaisical attitude and lack of political will on the part government, coupled with non- challant attitude of stakeholders in the region.
He therefore advised the 19 Northern state Governors to confront President Goodluck Jonathan with the issues at stake in the bid to enhance the social well-being of their people and for posterity.