Monday, 15 August 2011 / sent in by Toyin Omotoso
Kwara State is set to join the list of oil-producing states in the country following the discovery of crude oil in Ara Orin in Irepodun Local Government Area of the state.
The discovery came as the state identified solid minerals development and mining as key sources of internally generated revenue to fund development programmes.
The state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, announced the discovery in Ilorin while receiving the management of National Mirror newspapers, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House.
Governor Ahmed said the discovery was first highlighted by a farmer who discovered crude oil sprouting from his farm and seven other adjoining sites and alerted the state government.
Providing further clarification, he said geologists from the state Ministry of Industry and Solid Minerals were subsequently directed to confirm whether the substance was indeed crude oil and if so, identify the blend.
According to the governor, the ministry officials did not only confirm the substance as crude oil but identified the blend as Bonny Light, a high-grade of crude oil preferred by European and American refineries due to its unique properties, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede.
Governor Ahmed said the find was subsequently verified through independent analysis by a private oil company which also confirmed the government’s findings.
He said further tests were being carried to determine if the crude discovered in Ara Orin was in commercial quantities, adding that the finding was a welcome boost to the state’s economy and its emerging reputation as one of Nigeria’s most conducive investment destinations.
He identified solid minerals development and mining as one of his administration’s key policy thrusts for driving development in the state, stressing that the sector had the potential to significantly boost Kwara’s internally-generated revenue by attracting foreign and indigenous investors to the state.
The governor said the Ministry of Industry and Solid Minerals had been directed to catalogue all mineral and mining sites in the state with a view to regulating the sector and effectively managing the state’s resources.
He identified his administration’s other strategic policy areas as commercial agriculture, human capital development, youth empowerment and social and physical infrastructure.
He said all government policies and programmes had youth empowerment at their core, adding that he had directed all ministries to ensure that all projects had the potential to generate jobs for youths in the state.