The concern of many, especially residents of some communities along the Gongola Basin where the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) recently discovered oil, is when exploration will begin.

Already, some communities in Bauchi and Gombe states have urged the federal government to order NNPC to begin exploration, as it would boost economic activities and job creation in the area.

While announcing the discovery, NNPC said that on Thursday, October 10, 2019, at 6:02 p.m., one of the reservoirs was punctured and hydrocarbons began flowing to the wellhead at 9:20 p.m., during which time the component gas was burned to prevent air charge. around the rig. The discovery consists of API gas, condensate and non-corrosive light oil.

Recall that in 2019, following the discovery, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the drilling of the Kolmani River II well.

It is indisputable that the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in the Gongola Basin will attract foreign investment, generate employment and increase government revenue.

Therefore, as a matter of urgency, NNPC should work with relevant stakeholders, including foreign investors, to begin exploration. We believe that new foreign investment is needed in the African oil and gas industry.

We find it strange that, under the pretext of preventing disastrous climate change, financial organizations and governments of industrialized countries in Europe and North America have insisted that Africa and other developing countries must move from the production and use of fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Ironically, these demands come from industrialized countries where oil and gas have fueled the engines of their economic growth.

Nigeria, like most African countries, has a wealth of natural resources which, if properly harnessed, can provide reliable energy, grow the economy and build a better future for the citizens.

There is therefore no justification behind the call for Africa to give up some 130 billion barrels of proven reserves of crude oil and over 15 trillion standard cubic meters of natural gas, to the search for unreliable energy sources. It is clear that Africa still needs its oil and gas sector.

We are well aware that calls to stop funding African oil and gas have grown louder and more insistent, the recent being the pledge, at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, from more than 20 countries and financial institutions, to stop public funding of fossil fuel projects overseas.

As a newspaper, we believe that these calls are counterproductive for the African continent and therefore we urge Nigeria to focus on funding oil and gas exploration and other energy projects as we do not we can’t afford to give up fossil fuels just yet.

Nigeria must capitalize on the recent discovery of oil and gas in the Gongola Basin as it represents a crucial opportunity for the nation and its citizens.

Beyond balancing oil policy in the country, oil and gas exploration in the Gongola Basin will undoubtedly reduce the insecurity raging in some states in the region, as more young people, who are currently idle and therefore flexible tools for those who sponsor banditry and other crime in the region, will be engaged.

It is commonplace that exploration for oil and gas, including, of course, most minerals below the earth’s surface, is a capital-intensive business. The government must be prepared, now more than ever, to seek foreign direct investment. This includes standing firm in the face of raging security challenges and committing to the conditions and imperatives of the ease of doing business policies.

It is ironic that Africa is home to the impoverished host population of the world with an intolerably high energy deficit, despite sitting on enormous mineral resources.

More than anything else, the alarming statistics of poverty, high mortality, burden of disease and energy deficits, among others, that characterize Nigeria and other African countries, are cause for concern.

In 2019, Africa, including, of course, Nigeria, had 79% of the estimated 759 million people in the world who lack access to electricity and 70% of the more than two billion people in the world who do not have access to clean cooking fuels.

There is no justification for this since the nation, and indeed most countries on the continent, are endowed with abundant mineral resources which, if properly harnessed, can positively change the tide of these disturbing statistics and enable citizens to live a decent life like their counterparts. in other industrialized countries.

Harnessing these resources is the best way to meet some of the nation’s most pressing needs. Investing in fossil fuels, especially gas projects, and developing marginal fields offer a significant return on investment.

Barring corruption, the oil and gas industry offers the best opportunity to give Nigerians good jobs and improve their standard of living.