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Public Hearing on Bitumen Development Commission holds as Senator Jimoh Ibrahim expresses optimism on alternative to Petroleum.


Public Hearing on Bitumen Development Commission holds as Senator Jimoh Ibrahim expresses
optimism on alternative to Petroleum.

By Steve Ovirih.

The Public Hearing on a bill for an Act to establish Bitumen Development Commission of Nigeria and promotion of Research Study, investment, exploration, Production, exportation: development and utilization of locally sourced Bitumen in Nigeria and for related matters , 2023.ISB.07, held on Thursday at the Conference Hall 231, National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

The Public Hearing which was chaired by The Chairman Senate Committee on Solid Minerals Development, Distinguished Senator Ekong Sampson had presentations and contributions from Representatives of The Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Justice, Solid Minerals, Government Parastatals, Boards and Agencies which mandate covers exploration, mining and Geoscience.

Ondo South Senator, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, PhD Cantab, CFR, who sponsored the bill for the establishment of the Bitumen Commission on The floor of The Red Chamber, in his privileged presentation at the Public Hearing made it clear that Nigeria is missing out on the 110 billion Dollars global bitumen market, pointing out that Ondo State has the highest deposit of bitumen in Africa and second largest bitumen deposit in the world with an estimated value of 42 billion dollars. Delving into statistics, the Ondo South Senator said, ” the global in-place bitumen and heavy oil resources are estimated to be 5.9 trillion barrels (938 billion metric); more than 80 percent of these resources are found in Canada, the US, Nigeria and Venezuela.”

Senator Jimoh Ibrahim added that Ondo South has under its soil bitumen that qualifies Nigeria to be in vantage position as a rich bitumen exporting country when exploration actively begins when the bill goes through all the necessary steps in its evolvement into an Act of The Parliament. ” The Nigeria case of bitumen is largely located at Agbabu, Ode-Irele, Igbotako, Ode Aye and Ajebandele as well as in Ogun, Lagos and Edo States.”

Senator Ibrahim maintained that exploration and exportation of bitumen has both economic and financial gains as it stands tall as the ready alternative to fuel as the major plank of financial revenue for Nigeria. Rounding off his presentation Senator Jimoh Ibrahim noted, ” Bitumen Development Commission of Nigeria will lead innovation and improved strategy of finance resource and it will be a good case of the impressive alternative revenue for Nigeria.”

Earlier, Senate Committee Chair on Solid Minerals Development, Senator Ekong Sampson from Akwa Ibom South, thanked his colleague, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsoring the bill at the Senate. ” Nigeria is blessed with natural resources particularly 42 billion metric tones of untapped bitumen; therefore its exploration will put an end to bitumen importation and increase the GDP. This Hearing is to allow the input of all stakeholders,” Senator Sampson said.

Ondo Central Senator, Senator Adegbonmire in his presentation said he is very supportive of the bill because of the benefits such will have on Ondo State. He said the legal framework will be provided at the Senate after the hearing as the passing of the bill into law is not only for the benefit of Ondo South but Ondo State in general and Nigeria as a whole.

The representative of Ondo State at the Abuja Hearing, Engr. Rasak Obe, Commissioner of Energy said beyond the consideration for the benefit of the exportation of bitumen, further efforts should be made so as not to plunge the area of exploration into environmental challenge.”Since Ondo State is not the only producing state,Board Chair of the Commission should rotate among producing states while environmental impact assessment should be dutifully carried out,” Engr. Obe stated.

Among other stakeholders who made presentation at the Hearing were Mrs.Cole Isiah Esuabana, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Innovation Science and Technology, who represented her Minister ; Mr. Peter Obasi, Executive Secretary NEITI, Dr.Mrs. Mokutima Ekpo,Bola Odunayo, Representative Federal Ministry of Justice, who said consideration will be given to the nitty-gritty of the legal framework while further representation will be made to the Committe, Chief Henry Olatujoye, the Asoju Oba of Ikaleland and President Ode Aye Development Association ( FODA), who in his contribution said the entire Ondo South is Solidly behind the desire of their Senator to make sure the bill sees the light of day as the Bitumen Commission will put Ondo South on the global map and improve the lot of the people of the district.

Senator Ekong Sampson, Chairman Senate Committee on Solid Minerals Development described the Public Hearing as a very huge success while appreciating Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for ensuring that stakeholders from Ondo South were well represented, noting that it is one of the most attended Public Hearings of the 10th Senate so far.


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