The Benue State government yesterday assured the management and staff of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of the security and safety of its staff as they begin the exploration for hydrocarbon in the state and the larger Benue Trough.
Governor Samuel Ortom gave the assurance at the Government House, Makurdi, when the NNPC exploration team led by its Executive Director, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), Dorathy Umoetok, visited him.
Represented by his Deputy, Benson Abounu, Governor Ortom said the government would put in place the needed security measures to guarantee the safety and unhindered work of the team.
He expressed delight that Benue State constitutes 70 per cent of the area in the Benue Trough, believed to contain hydrocarbon; and called on the people of the state, particularly people of Makurdi, Guma, Ohimini, Gwer West, Apa, Agatu and Otukpo Local Government Areas, where the exploration work shall take place, to cooperate with the team.
He implored the communities to receive the team warmly and give them all assistance needed.
Governor Ortom, who particularly charged traditional rulers and council chairmen from the affected areas to help provide the needed peaceful atmosphere for the team to work, warned that the government would deal squarely with anyone or group of people in any community that constituted an obstacle to the work.
Earlier, the team leader, Dorathy Umoetok, explained that their visit, which was sequel to the visit to the state last year by the out-going NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, was to seek the guarantee of the safety and security of the lives of the exploration team so that they could commence work.