Some Nigerian scientists searching for crude oil in Lake Chad have been reportedly kidnapped. They are believed to have been kidnapped by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
Ndu Ughamadu of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said “About 10 staff from the survey and geological department of the University of Maiduguri were abducted on Tuesday,”.
Ughamadu said the NNPC had contracted the team to carry out research work on oil exploration activities taking place in the Lake Chad basin.
“They were kidnapped around Jibi village in Borno state after a gun battle between the security agents accompanying them and suspected Boko Haram fighters”.
Efforts were under way to track down the captors before a possible rescue operation. Jibi village is in the Magumeri area of Borno, northwest of the state capital, Maiduguri.
Also, the University of Maiduguri spokesman Danjuma Gambo confirmed the abduction and said the institution was awaiting further details from security operatives.
“There is no denying the fact that this incident happened, involving our staff, NNPC workers and security escorts from the military and the (civilian militia),” he added.
“Our staff who were recruited as consultants were on the team that was ambushed.”
The reported attack is coming five days after the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, issued a directive for the arrest of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, within 40 days.
The kidnap also comes about two months after the NNPC management, following a presidential directive, announced that it was resuming oil exploration around the Lake Chad area following assurances by the Nigeria military that the security situation had improved in the area that was once under the control of Boko Haram.