By Dipo Olowookere
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri (UniMaid), Prof Ibrahim Njodi, has described the July 25, 2017 attack on a team of specialists in search of commercial hydrocarbon deposits in the Chad Basin by suspected Boko Haram terrorists as an act of God.
The VC made this comment over the weekend in Maiduguri, Borno State, while receiving a delegation from the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) led by Engr Saidu Mohammed, Chief Operating Officer in charge of gas and power unit of the agency.
Mr Njodi said though the entire university community was distraught by the cruel incident, the school will “chicken out” from doing what it is supposed to do when eventually the NNPC re-organizes and return to exploration work in the area.
Tracing the institution’s partnership with the corporation to over 12 years ago when the NNPC teed-off exploration activities in the Chad Basin, the UniMaid VC described the cruel attack on the Frontier Exploration Services/Surface Geochemistry Sampling team comprising the NNPC, Consultants from University of Maiduguri, consultants attached to the Integrated Data Services Limited, (IDSL) a subsidiary of the NNPC and Civilian escort team, as an act of God.
He noted that the situation painful as it might appear must be seen as a necessary sacrifice for the development of the country.
Prof NjodI, however, called on the NNPC to stand firm beside the university and the families of the bereaved and provide the much needed support to overcome the massive setback wrought by the insurgent attack.
Responding, Engr Mohammed said as a responsible corporate entity, the NNPC would do everything within its means to support the university and the families of the victims of the attack.
“We have been great partners with the University of Maiduguri for many years and certainly when losses like this happen and under this circumstance, we cannot abandon our partners to their fate,” Engr Mohammed said.
He promised to return to the university after conferring with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.
Earlier, the high powered delegation paid a similar visit to the Governor of Borno State at Government House Maiduguri where the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Usman Durkwa, charged the NNPC not to allow the attack to dampen its morale in the quest for new oil finds in the region.
Before leaving Maiduguri, the delegation paid a visit to the Theatre Command Headquarters of Operation Lafia Dole, where a formal condolence letter from the HMSPR was handed over to Brig. Gen. Stevenson Olabanji who stood in for the Theatre Commander.
General Olabanji restated the readiness of the military to perform its statutory role of providing security cover for exploration activities in the Chad Basin and beyond.
Meanwhile the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru upon return of the delegation over the weekend, announced some short term palliatives for victims of the attacks.
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