The Ondo State Government says communities with bitumen deposit will benefit more when the exploration begins.
The Senior Special Assistant, Energy and Mineral Resources to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Femi Akarakiri, disclosed this to newsmen on Monday in Akure.
Akarakiri said the Ondo State Bitumen Company had advised the government not to use its scarce resources on the exploration but to seek private partnership because “they have the money, technology and expertise for the exploration’’.
Akarakiri, who is also the Director, Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency, said the exploration would also attract development to host communities.
He said: “We can have multiple operations going on simultaneously. In that way, we will be creating multiple job opportunities.
“We want to make sure that areas where bitumen is located are actually developed when exploration starts.
“There are people who have the money, they are looking for where they can get ideas, the market is there, the resource is there, once we are able to solve the technology issue and these will come from the private sector.”
Akarakiri said the state government would definitely make sure that the host communities benefit from the resource, to forestall challenges in the future.
He said the government would create a forum for host communities, to be called, “Bitumen Communities”, to enable them benefit from the exploration in their communities.
He, however, noted that the communities would not suddenly become prosperous as a result of the exploration, adding that not everyone would be employed directly.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that over 26 companies have indicated interest in bitumen exploration in the state.