Over 30 oil wells capped about 65 years ago by Shell Petroleum, in Ikot Offiong Community of Cross River State, have been identified. Investigation revealed that the Ikot Offiong youths, mobilised by the community to identify all the oil points drilled and capped by Shell in the 1950s, identified the oil wells, tucked in various locations in the community, recently.
Consequently, the youth leader, Asuquo Joseph, who led the youths into the bush to search and identify the oil wells, thanked God for the gift of nature. They also appealed to the Federal Government “to come in and ensure enduring peace in Ikot Offiong and Oku Iboku so that everyone will be in peace and harmony, as well as develop the oil wells for the benefit of Ikot Offiong people and the state.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Joseph said: “Because of the oil wells, many youths have died and the time has come to embrace peace for the good of all.”
On his part, the clan Head of Mbiabo Ikot Offiong, in Odukpani Council of the state, Etubom Nyah Asuquo, said: “In the late 1950s, Shell did some exploration work in our community, and they buried about 30 exploration wells on our land. After they concluded work, they did what is known as 2-d seismic and found that the oil well there contained a lot of gas but less oil.
“In the 50s, everybody was looking for oil and not gas. Because there was more gas than oil in that field, they left it. Today, gas is more preferable and wanted all over the world than crude oil.”
Etubom Asuquo, Who is the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Uganda, said: “Over the past eight years, I have been working to make sure Cross River becomes an oil producing state again. I have been working on it, and I identified two oil fields in the state, which I registered in what is now called the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) (A Federal Government agency that registers and gives licenses for oil exploration).
“I registered two oil fields in the Nigerian Oil Concession Map in 2018, OPL 2020, which is the oil field established in Ikot offiong territory, and OPL 2021, which spans from Adiabo towards Akpabuyo. People do not know the genesis of the fight between Ikot offiong and Oku Iboku. It is about the oil field that we have.”