The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday called on Nigerians and security agencies to join its effort at curbing the menace of oil pipeline vandalism in the country.
Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer for Down Stream Operations made the appeal during an inspection visit to the scene of a recent pipeline fire incident at Peace Estate, Baruwa, in Idimu axis of Lagos on Monday.
Newsmen report that an explosion occurred on Dec. 5 in the swampy area after some suspected pipeline vandals disrupted the Atlas Cove-Mosimi Pipeline, part of the System 2B Pipeline.
”We are here this morning from NNPC to assess the fire of Dec. 5 at Baruwa village, and what we have seen is that the fire was put out within 24 hours.
“We thank the various agencies of government, the Lagos State Fire Service, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Police and Oilserv, our contractors on the line.
“Everybody came here and joined hands together to put off the fire, and we have resumed pumping of products to Mosimi and Atlas Cove since yesterday.
“So, everything is now under control. We have enough products, so there will be no fear of any scarcity during the Yuletide and beyond,’’ he said.
Adetunji said that some arrests had been made in connection with the vandalism, and an investigation was ongoing.
The NNPC official also said that the particular location had become exposed to pipeline vandalism in the past, as the location last year experienced two fire incidents.
“Last year, there was a fire outbreak twice in this Baruwa area, and this year, we have had incidences in November and December.
“So, this area is prone to pipeline vandalism. We are doing our best in NNPC to ensure we have security, adequate maintenance and look at our right of way in terms of pipeline integrity.
“We are appealing to the residents here, community leaders and religious leaders to ensure that they also protect our pipelines.
“These are national assets and must be protected by all Nigerians. Security is for everybody and if you see something, say something,’’ he said.
Adetunji said that the NNPC would continue to sensitise communities and Nigerians on the danger of pipeline vandalism, adding that it was prepared to also listen to useful suggestions.
Mr Aloga Ogbogo, the Executive Secretary, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said that the protection of pipelines should be the responsibility of everybody.
“Anybody who tampers with such critical infrastructure should be apprehended and prosecuted.
“NARTO as an organisation will continue to kick against pipeline vandalism because apart from sabotaging the economy, it also creates artificial scarcity of products,’’ Ogbogo said.
The Chairman of Peace Estate Community Development Association, Mr Omojowo Adedeji, decried the nefarious activities of the vandals.
Adedeji said the community was ready to work with the NNPC and security agencies in curbing activities of oil pipelines vandals in the area.
He also enjoined the NNPC management to clear the swampy areas, to improve visibility and safety of the pipelines.