The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Saturday said incessant vandalism of its pipeline network remained a big threat to the country’s socio-economic development and human lives.
Mr Ohi Alegbe, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of NNPC, made the assertion at the opening of a two-day Anti Pipeline Vandalism and Oil Theft Awareness Campaign in Lagos.
Alegbe, represented by Mr Nasir Imodagbe, the Manager, Public Affairs and Media Relations, Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), said the twin menace constituted a threat to the very existence of the country.
He said the essence of the campaign was to highlight the challenge and let Nigerians and particularly communities close to the pipeline network know the enormity of the problems and help tackle them.
“We are all living witness to explosions and fire incidents resulting from vandalism and the attendant loss of lives and property across over 5,200km network of crude oil and products pipeline across the country.
“What many people do not know is that besides such very obvious harmful effect of pipeline vandalism, the act, if not arrested, has the 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 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 lives of all Nigerians,’’ he said.
Alegbe said that the ability to pump products from the various depots was also grossly undermined by constant acts of vandalism, thereby causing products scarcity in some parts of the country.
According to him, the human and material loss to pipeline damage in recent times cannot be quantified.
“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 had now transformed into organised crime with the use of sophisticated equipment, and involving the low and high in the society.
“The menace does not only disrupt our operations, it also introduces huge losses to the national economy and tolls 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,” Alegbe lamented.