Senators divided over Anambra oil producing status

The Nigerian upper legislative chamber on Thursday was thrown into commotion after senators disagree over the status of Anambra status as an oil producing state.

For sometime, there have been controversy on the recognition of Anambra state as oil producing state by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

But throwing up the matter for debate at plenary on Thursday, Chukwuma Utazi, the lawmaker representing Enugu North senatorial district, argued that the recognition of Anambra state was wrong.

The lawmaker, who spoke through order 43, sought the intervention of the Senate to determine the ownership of oil wells that three states presently lay claim to.

Utazi pointed out that Anambra state continue to flaunt its status as oil producing state when ownership of oil wells used as a parameter is yet to be decided, adding that the federal government had realized its error and have since withdrawn the status.

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, the oil producing status on Anambra state has since been withdrawn,” he argued.

Explaining reason the Senate intervention is highly necessary, the lawmaker noted that the continued hold of the status by Anambra state was already brewing crisis among communities laying claim to the wells.

“We know what we did in the past to restore peace among those warring communities, and election period is around the corner. So, we don’t want any crisis,” he said.

But his position was vehemently opposed by Senator Andy Uba, the senator representing Anambra North, who dismissed his colleague claim that Anambra oil producing state status had been withdrawn.

The lawmaker mentioned his contribution to the process that conferred Anambra its oil producing state status, said the state earned its recognition after meeting daily threshold of oil exploration.

“What my colleague, Utazi is saying is not correct. They said any state that produces 120,000bpd is qualified as an oil producing state and that is why Anambra was conferred,” he explained.

The plenary, however, became rowdy when senators struggled to add their voices to the debate.

It took the intervention of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to calm nerves at the plenary, while he reminded senators that the matter came through order 43 which means it was not open to debate.

He thereafter referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), demanding that the report be turned-in in two weeks.

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