Home Election Fact Check: How true are Timipre Sylva’s claims?

The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Bayelsa state and Nigeria’s former minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, made a number of claims on May 6, 2023, when he granted an interview with Democratic Watch. 

CDD Election War Room fact-checked these claims and here is what we found.

CLAIM 1: Bayelsa state has a total of 185 kilometres of coastline.

In analysing the many blessings that Bayelsa state is endowed with, Sylva stated that Bayelsa has one of the longest coastlines in the country with a total of 185 km of coastline. 


Nigeria’s 853km-long coastline runs through seven of the Southern States of the Federation. They are Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Bayelsa and Ondo states’ coastline of 180km (each) are the longest in Nigeria.

Therefore, Bayelsa state’s coastline only totals 180km, and not 185 km as claimed by Timipre Sylva. 

Verdict: Inaccurate.

The claim that Bayelsa state has a total of 185 km of coastline is Inaccurate. Bayelsa state’s coastline totals 180km. 

CLAIM 2: The Atala oil field was revoked because it produced no value.

Timipre Sylva claimed that the Atala oil field that was awarded to Bayelsa state was revoked because the land was left to fallow for many years and produced no value. 

Verification: In 2003, Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration awarded the Atala marginal Oil field (OML 46) to the Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (BOCL) with Hardy and CEPL subsequently farming-in in 2005 and 2012, respectively.  

However, the marginal field was revoked in April 2020, mainly because for 17 years, the BOCL failed to develop the field in line with the letter of award. Atala was shot in June 2018 and remained shut for about 650 days before the revocation. The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) lawfully revoked the OML 46 license and requested Bayelsa to reapply at the new bidding process. However, the state government failed to reapply.

In line with Nigeria’s petroleum laws, Halkin Exploration and Production Limited was duly awarded the OML 46 to operate and develop. Halkin was awarded the license on the condition that a signature bonus of millions of dollars was paid to the federal government. Halkin has since then began operation.

Verdict: True.

The claim that the Atala oil field was revoked because the field produced no value is true. The Atala field was awarded in 2003 and revoked in 2020 because the BOCL failed to develop the field in line with the letter of award.

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