The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday appealed to host communities to assist in pipeline surveillance to curb incessant pipeline vandalism across the country.
This is contained in a statement by the Manager, Public Affairs and Media Relations of Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr Nasir Imodagbe, in Abuja.
The appeal was made at the launching ceremony of Anti Pipeline Vandalism and Oil Theft Awareness Campaign in Lagos by Mr Ohi Alegbe, Group Manager, Public Affairs on NNPC.
Alegbe said continuous pipeline vandalism remained a big threat to the country’s socio-economy development and human lives.
He said that vandalism and oil theft had constituted a threat not only to the national economy but to the environment.
He reiterated that the essence of the sensitisation programme was to acquaint the communities of the consequences of pipeline vandalism and oil theft on the economy.
According to him, it is to enable the communities to have full understanding of the enormity of the problem and how to tackle it at different levels.
He expressed concern on the loss of lives and property due to explosions and fires from pipeline vandalism across over 520-kilometre network of crude oil and products pipelines nationwide.
He said that such situation, if not arrested, had the potential of wiping out communities through the harmful effect on the environment.
“The oil that is spilled into the environment destroys aquatic life; pollutes the ground water and renders water from boreholes unsafe for consumption.
“It contaminates the soil and makes it unfit to support any meaningful agricultural activity and ultimately reduces the quality of life of the people living around such places.
“Besides, every litre of oil that is stolen or spilled represents a portion of our collective wealth that is stolen or wasted.
“ The loss from this runs into billions of naira every year; this is money that should have been used to provide basic social amenities to improve the quality of life of all Nigerians,” he said.
He said most times when fuel scarcity was experienced in parts of the country, it was usually due to pipeline vandalism.
He said that the long hours motorists wasted on queues at filling stations were part of the punishment motorists received from pipeline vandals and oil thieves.
“We can, therefore, see that no one is free or exempted from the harmful effects of the twin evils of pipeline vandalism and oil theft.
“It is thus our collective responsibility to be vigilant and see the pipelines around our environments as our 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,” he said.
He enjoined the communities to support government by reporting every suspicious movement around pipelines in their domain to law enforcement agents