NNPC confirms abduction of 10 oil experts in Borno

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says 10 scientists exploring oil in Lake Chad, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram on Tuesday, are from the University of Maiduguri.

TheCable had reported the ambush of a team of oil exploration workers and security agents by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Magumeri in Gubio local government area of Borno state.

Out of 10 vehicles which conveyed the contingent only one was reported to have returned. Some members of the team are also suspected to have been killed in the ambush.

Speaking with TheCable in a telephone interview on Wednesday, Ndu Ughamadu, spokesperson of the NNPC, said the corporation was worried about the incident.

He said those kidnapped were staff of the geology and survey department of the University of Maidguri, which a subsidiary of the NNPC had engaged for oil exploration in Lake Chad.

“The processes and procedures for oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin are these: We have a unit here known as frontier exploration services – in charge of exploration activities. So, they were the ones carrying out activities there, but they contracted the job out to our subsidiary known as IDSL in Benin; IDSL, in turn, contracted it to the University of Maiduguri – their geology and surveying department – so they were the ones involved in this,” he said.

“The management is worried, and the group managing director has asked the security unit of the NNPC to swiftly move into the matter. And we are in touch with the defence arm of the government to ensure that they are rescued. From the report we got about 10 of them were abducted.”

Boko Haram had a few weeks ago abducted 10 women whom it claimed were senior police officers. The women were on their way to the funeral of a colleague in Borno.

But the police countered the claim, saying that none of its personnel was kidnapped.