The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has suspended exploration of crude oil in the Lake Chad Basin in Borno State.
According to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, this is following attacks on its workers and some military personnel by the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
He said the exercise had to be put on hold until the military could give the corporation sufficient clearance to resume oil search in the region.
Kachikwu spoke to journalists at the headquarters of the NNPC in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the necessary clearance for was gotten for the exploration that led to the death of NNPC staff and others.
“The reality is that anytime the NNPC decides to go into a terrain, it first gets the privilege of security advice and that security advice, I can say, was sufficiently cleared,” he said.
“Certainly, we will not go back unless they (military) give us a clearance, just like we didn’t go in before they gave us a clearance,” the minister said.
He said the ambushed team was returning to Maiduguri after conducting a survey mapping/geological study of parts of the Lake Chad Basin, in preparation for re-entry for seismic activities.
Kachikwu said, “When incidents happen, they are important for two reasons; for the fact of their occurrence and also important for the lessons that you will take away. Obviously, the lesson for us is that we are going to look at the security apparatus and see whether there is a little bit more we can do.
“I know there were over 200 security personnel between the military and other security agencies, they were very well protected. I will imagine that the security operatives will take a second look at what has happened and like the lessons they take from every area where Boko Haram has operated, they will look to see more protection they can put in place.”