As part of efforts to curb incessant pipeline vandalism across the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at the weekend begs communities to assist in pipeline surveillance, saying continuous vandalisation of its pipeline network remains a big threat to the country socio-economy development and human lives.
Speaking in Lagos, at the official flagged off ceremony on Anti Pipeline Vandalism and Oil Theft Awareness Campaign Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of NNPC Mr Ohi Alegbe said that pipeline vanmdalism and its twin menace of oil theft have grown over the year into a monster proportion that constitutes a thereat not only to the national economy but also to the environment as and therefore our very existence as citizens of this great nation.
Alegbe who said represented bythe Manager, Public Affairs and Media Relations of PipelineProducts Marketing Company (PPMC) Mr Nasir Imodagbe, said that the essence sensitisation programme was to let Nigerians and people pipeline network communities to know the different ways that the activities of pipeline vandals and oil theft has affected our live negatively in other to have full understanding of the enormity of the problem so that we can all join hands to tackle it at our different level.
According to him, we are all living witness to explosion and fire incidence resulting from pipeline and the attendance use of lives and properties across over 5,200 kilometer network of crude oil and products pipeline across the country.
“What many people don’t know is that besides such very obvious harmful effect of pipeline vandalism, the act, if not arrested, hasthe potential of wiping out entire communities through the harm it does the environment.
“Another way pipeline vandalism affects everyone is its economic impact on our lives. Every litre of oil that is stolen or spilled represents a portion of our collective wealth that is stolen or wasted.
“The lost from this runs into billions pf naira every year, this is money that should have been used to provide basic social amenities to improve the quality of lives of all Nigerians.
Alegba said that the ability to pump products from various depots areas is grossly undermined by constant acts of vandalism, thereby causing products scarcity in some areas of the country.
He said that the human and material loss to pipeline damage in recent times cannot be quantified; moreover, this is the most singular disturbing threat to regular supply and distribution of petroleum products to the Nigerian populace and economy.
“The NNPC, through its subsidiary Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), has come out to state categorically that it has recorded unprecedented attacks on its pipelines at various segments.
He said that the act of vandalism started a long time ago and has now transformed into organised crime with the use of sophisticated equipment, and involving the low and high in our society.
He said that vandals are attracted into this illegal business as a result of the available market among oil dealers.
“The menace does not only disrupt our operations, it also introduces huge losses to the national economy and toll on human capital, including the perpetrators and innocent public.
“It is quite a pity that the activities of vandals persist in spite of the efforts being made by the government and security agents to address the problem.
“It is thus our collective responsibility to be vigilant and see the pipelines around our environments as pour property and protect them as such. We must all eschew the i- don’t – care attitude with which we have been looking at these vices because at the end of the day, whether you know it or not, you are affected one way or the other by the activities of the few criminal elements in our communities who perpetrate these acts,’’ Alegbe lamented.