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…as Governor Inuwa Yahaya Meets President Buhari

Gombe State Governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct a speedy action on oil exploitation in the Kolmani area around Bauchi and Gombe states.
The Governor made the appeal when he paid a visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he held talks with the Nigerian leader on so many issues regarding the State.
Addressing State House Correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Buhari, the Governor said he also stressed on the need to fast-track its take-off so that people can benefit from the potentials of the resources the State is endowed with.
He praised the passion of the President in the exploration and the interest of investors in developing the oil and gas deposit in the area.
He said: “We discussed on the issue of the oil and gas that has been discovered in the Benue Trough, specifically in Kolmani area which is situated in Bauchi and Gombe States and because of the political will, and passion shown by the President since his days as the Federal Commissioner of Petroleum in the &0s and later when he became President, we have seen positive developments with regards to that and the NNPC frontier exploration division has done a lot of work.
“With the deposits discovered and the interest shown by investors who want to put in money and develop the gas and oil deposits available in that place, there is need for us to fast track the process of the takeoff so that people will benefit from God’s resources that already Nigeria is blessed with.”
Governor Yahaya stressed the need to exploit oil and gas in the north saying that in doing so, “we will have balance. Whilst oil and gas is discovered up north and there is oil and gas in the south, there will be balance.
“And everybody will now be his brother’s keeper trying to mingle and mix up. Everybody can enjoy the benefit of God’s endowed resources that we have in this country if we are ready to key in and do the correct thing.”
He emphasized that the President should apply pressure to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to expedite action on the take-off “knowing fully well that oil and gas is under the exclusive preserve of the federal government.”
Buhari Industrial Park
He also spoke of a proposed Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park, adding that contract has been awarded already for the construction of the park, which he said will encourage industrialists to come and invest in the state.
According to him, necessary infrastructure such as 24-hour electricity, water and security will be put in place.
“We discussed on the issue of the Gombe industrial park, which we’ve awarded the contract for construction to start this month, and the park has been named after the President. I came to inform him about that and also seek for his support in order to see that we deliver on that because our people are naturally farmers and herders,” he said.
The Governor noted that the youths of the State stand to benefit a lot form the park when completed.
“85 percent of our people are peasant farmers and if we are able to put up the industrial park, with the experience we got after we set up a small cluster in Gombe, we will have a big place that can provide opportunities for our youth since the constitute a greater part of the numbers and they need to have opportunities with the availability of industries so that within agricultural production, processing, marketing and distribution, we will have places for them to engage so that they will have very good menace of livelihood and the economy will be improved upon,” he added.
Governor Yahaya also spoke of the NYSC Orientation Camp which now serves as a rehabilitation center for surrendering insurgents.
He explained that the state now realizes that rather than the existing short term rehabilitation plan, the massive return of terrorists makes it imperative to have long term rehabilitation plan.
“That facility has not been formally taken over by the federal government so, the number of Youth Corps members attached to us keeps dwindling and they normally provide the human resource that we need in our schools. As such, we have requested the federal government to take necessary steps to reimburse Gombe state with the amount that is equivalent for us to set up another NYSC orientation camp since we have realized the de-radicalization center is no longer going to be temporary and the insurgents are surrendering now in multitudes,” he said.
Livestock Transformation Plan
He said his discussion with the President also touched on the need to resolve the problem of accommodation that may arise from the movement of herders back to the north, following the ban on open grazing in Southern states.
The Governor said he brought to bear, the need to fast-track the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) as well as develop the Wawa-Zange grazing reserve in the state.
He said: “We discussed the issue of Wawa-Zange grazing reserve. I think it is the largest grazing reserve that is gazetted in the whole of Nigeria totalling 144,000 hectares.
“I believe that Mr. President earlier in 2020 precisely in his 2020 January speech acknowledged and approved that the National Livestock Transformation Plan will take off with a model from Gombe, the Wawa-Zange reserve.
“But so far, nothing serious has been done on that, and with the recent outburst, with the position taken by governors of southern parts of this country, there is the need for us to fast-track the process of building that place so that in the event our people move in multitudes to come back to resettle, we will have space for them.
“And we will avoid situations where there will be rancour and there will be no issues to do either with farmers/herders again or issues to do with the herders themselves having problems because they cannot have any space for them to stay.”
He stressed the importance of the implementation of the grazing reserve, saying that in the event that herders are dislocated from the southern states and they have no place to return, it may set off another crisis “which may not be good for the country.”
On whether he had requested for funds from the President to implement the project he said:
“We’ve requested for funds. I believe that every other state will do so because you need the resources in order to implement and there is scarcity of financial resources in the state.
“So, we’ve requested. But I will not tell you how much. But at least, we’ve submitted a proposal that is fully backed by a feasibility report that indicates what we require.

“But with size of Wawa-Zange, 144,000 hectares that is specifically meant for cattle and other livestock, really, there’s justification for government to put in money so that we can avoid this rancour and issues to do with farmers/herders that has already degenerated in some parts of the country to lead to banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom.”