Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has called on the federal government to give the state ‘discretionary right’ to explore and exploit its huge hydrocarbon and gas deposits.
This, according to him, will bolster the state economic recovery as the monthly federal allocation of about N1 billion has crippled the state.
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Ayade who spoke in his office on Monday said the federal government has impoverished the state since the loss of 76 oil wells to neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, and called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“In spite of the delisting of Cross River from the oil-bearing states, the state still boasts of huge hydrocarbon deposits. These can be found in huge quantities in Biase and Odukpani local government areas of Cross River State. We have huge inland deposits of crude.
“I have done this analysis and have sent the report to the president and asked for a discretionary right for the exploration and exploitation of our hydrocarbon deposits. I have not received a correspondence to date.
“There is a huge deposit of gas as well in the Ogoja axis sharing boundary with Ebonyi. This, I have also reported with a geo location and issued as a report”, he said.
He described as very unfair the way the state is suffering losses in oil wells, losses which were meant to be temporary, yet a sister state is comfortably collecting close to N16bn every month as federal allocations and his state less than N1bn.
He said the 76 oil well saga was intended to last for 10 years and to be reviewed. “That review had not been done.”