Geo-scientists under the umbrella of Nigerian Mining and Geo-sciences Society (NMGS) urged the government to do everything to get the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) lecturers released.
No fewer than 50 people on an oil exploration team in the Northeast were reportedly killed in a Boko Haram ambush last week.
Nine members of the academic and non-academic staff of the UNIMAID were involved in the incident.
Addressing reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the society’s president, Prof Silas Dada, said negotiation rather than force was the antidote to the Boko Haram menace.
Said he: “It should be on record that out of the nine staff of the UNIMAID involved in the unfortunate attack, five are geologists out of which two have been killed, two abducted and one is still missing.”
Boko Haram insurgents have released a video of the two geologists abducted along with their driver.
“The names of the two abducted geologists are Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim and Dr. Solomon Yusuf who are lecturers in the Department of Geology, University of Maiduguri along with the driver of the university identified as Idris Abubakar Jodi. The names of some of the deceased employees of UNIMAID are Dr. Militus Joseph, Dr Manager Uba, Idris Abubakar Njodi (driver), Dr. Daniel Birma and Mohammed Kamfo of the Soil Science Department.”
Dada added that the activities of the sect festered in the previous administration due to corruption in the security services and human rights.
His words: “While we commend the pragmatic approach of the present administration in putting a stop to this national disgrace called Boko Haram, we want the military to urgently swing into action and adopt negotiation method which has shown to be more effective and life-saving than the use of force as witnessed in the release of substantial number of Chibok schoolgirls, to rescue our colleagues and all others in captivity of the Boko Haram.
“I also wish to state that the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has dragged on for too long and we therefore urge the Federal
Government to redouble its efforts in the fight against the insurgency in the Northeast so that the Boko Haram problem is stamped out permanently sooner than later.”
Also yesterday, UNIMAID Vice Chancellor Prof. Ibrahim Njodi assured the Nigeria National Peotrleum Corporation (NNPC) that it would not abandon the search for commercial hydrocarbon deposits in the Chad basin, despite the attack on its lecturers.
Some members of the NNPC staff, five lecturers of the university, soldiers and civilian members of the JTF were attacked by Boko Haram insurgents on July 25.
The group was on explorative mission to the Chad basin in Borno State in search of hydrocarbon deposits.
Some soldiers and others were killed. The lecturers were abducted by Boko Haram.
Njodi spoke in Maiduguri when he received a delegation from the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the NNPC.
The statement signed by the NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division Ndu Ngamadu, quoted the VC as saying that the university community was distraught by the cruel incident of July 25.
“The university will not chicken out from doing what it is supposed to do when the NNPC re-organises and returns to exploration work in the area,’’ the statement quoted the VC as saying.
He described the attack on the Frontier Exploration Services/Surface Geochemistry Sampling team –made up of consultants from the university, NNPC staff, soldiers and civilian escort team — as an act of God.
According to him, the situation, painful as it might appear, must be seen as a necessary sacrifice for the development of the country.
Njodi called on the NNPC to stand firm with the university and the families of the bereaved by supporting them to overcome the massive setback caused by the insurgent attack.
NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer in charge of gas and power unit, Mr Saidu Mohammed, said the NNPC would support the university and the victims’ families.
“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,’’ 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.
The NNPC delegation also visited the state government. Deputy Governor Usman Durkwa urged the corporation not to allow the attack to stop the search for new oil fields in the region.
Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, who represented the theatre commander of “Operation Lafia Dole”, received a condolence letter from the minister.
Gen. Olabanji restated the readiness of the military to perform its statutory role of providing security cover for exploration in the Chad Basin and beyond.
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