Sen Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) has called on the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to designate Enugu State as an oil-producing state.
Speaking through Order 43 against the backdrop of the recent declaration of Kogi and Anambra as oil-producing states, the senator noted that Oil blocs 915 and 916 are not being controlled by Kogi and Anambra states alone but Enugu too, hence, the status should be accorded to Enugu till such a time that the matter would be laid to rest.
Sen Utazi recalled that senators from the affected oil and gas basin, have consistently pursued the matter from the 8th National Assembly up to the 9th Assembly, wondering the justification of recognising Kogi and Anambra without Enugu State.
‘Those conversant with the 8th Assembly legislative issue will recall that the issues of oil and gas deposits between Enugu, Kogi and Anambra States have been a recurrent issue in these hallowed chambers over the years,’ he noted.
‘All senators that have been representing that Senatorial districts especially the Igala speaking communities that have boundary with Enugu and Anambra States, we have been discussing this issue throughout the 8th Assembly.’
The Enugu lawmaker noted that the Department of Petroleum Resources once briefed the Senate Committee on the development at their prompting, while he expressed shock that Enugu State wasn’t captured by RMAFC.
‘Following the frequency of our discussion, this Assembly asked the Department of Petroleum Resources to look into this issue to find out and settle this issue permanently within these three states so that they can enjoy the 13% derivation that we are entitled to because we have deposits of hydrocarbon in our area.
‘So, the Committee that was set up by the Petroleum upstream invited the Department of Petroleum came and we discussed with them extensively. They gave us a condition that any state that wants to become an oil-producing State to fulfill. I want to say that Anambra State has an Orient Oil Producing Company that has been there trying to extract crude oil in that basin.
‘After our meeting, the Department of Petroleum Resources wrote to the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) on 24th July 2018 and we raised an issue here that the Orient Petroleum that is operating between Kogi, Anambra and Enugu has not fulfilled certain conditions and which was mentioned here clearly.
‘In view of the foregoing, the Orient Petroleum Company has no status of an oil-producing company, hence, Anambra, Kogi and Enugu cannot be classified as an oil-producing state for now.
‘I’m happy that we are inching towards the solution of this matter which in the 8th Assembly, a motion was jointly sponsored here by the entire Senators from that zone to wit: Senator Isaac Alfa, Kogi East Senatorial district, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, Enugu North Senatorial district and Senator Stella Adaeze Oduah Anambra North.
‘We all agreed that since the National Boundary Commission was not able to solve this problem, the three affected States should in the interim enjoy the 13 % derivation till when the problem would be solved.
‘My problem now is that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has gone ahead to recognise Kogi, and Anambra. What is left now is Enugu State. Because from the letter they have written, OPL 915 and 916 are in our area.
‘I want to put on record here that since the RMAFC has accorded recognition to our neighbours, Kogi and Anambra, they should extend same to Enugu State, so that there will be peace,’ the senator stated.