Maiduguri - The Federal Government budgeted 100 million dollars for oil search in the Lake Chad Basin this year, Vice President Namadi Sambo said on Saturday.
Sambo stated this during a visit to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Aubakar Ibn Garbai, in Maiduguri.
He said the action was aimed at preparing ground for the commencement of full commercial oil exploration in the basin.
"I want to inform you that government is committed to the oil and gas search in the Lake Chad basin.
"Last year about 75 million dollars was spent on the project and this year President Goodluck Jonathan has approved 100 million dollars for the project," he said.
Sambo added that three blocks have been identified in the area after a series of research for further action.
"So far, we have identified three blocks one of which is located in Maiduguri.
"These blocks have great potentials for oil and gas exploration," he said.
Sambo said that government believed that commercial oil exploration would begin in the area at the beginning of 2014.
"Our plan is that by the fourth quarter of 2013, or first quarter of 2014, commercial oil and gas exploration will commence in the basin," he said.
Sambo said that government was also working towards rejuvenating the Lake Chad, to reactivate agricultural activities in the area.
"We are working on plans to rejuvenate the Lake Chad through an inter-basin water transfer from Congo Democratic Republic.
"President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the release of five million dollars for the consultancy work on the project," he said.
Earlier in his speech, Ibn Garbai appealed to the Federal Government to hasten oil exploration activities in the Lake Chad basin.
"I want to appeal to government to pursue oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin with vigour because commercial oil exploration will provide jobs for our teeming unemployed youths.
"I believe the place contains large quantity of oil because of a similar discovery by our neighbours on the other side of the basin," he said.
Ibn Garbai also urged government to relax the current 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in the state following the improved security situation in the city.