The Centre for Crisis Communication condemns in its entirety the renewed vandalisation of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta. The recent well planned attack on the Abiteye flow station and Sagara Chevron pipelines in Warri, Delta State penultimate week clearly shows an attempt by well-organised vandals to disrupt the resumption of steady supply of petroleum products and gas supply to power stations in Nigeria. This unpatriotic act was carried out by well determined criminal gang are intended to divert attention from the on-going fight against insurgency and corruption and to bring the country to its knees.
The attack followed multiple explosions that rocked several oil installations between Ikpokpo and Odidi flow stations mostly in Gbaramatu Kingdom, leading to the closure of Kaduna and Port Harcourt Refineries the NNPC. The vandalisation, according to reports, is costing the nation a whopping N470 million daily on gas sales and power shortage. The attack is also affecting the 600 mega watts ((mw) Olorunsogo plant in Ogun state and other South Western axis. This incessant vandalism of NNPC pipeline network and oil theft are undoubtedly big threats to the country’s socioeconomic development, peace and security.
Apart from the huge cost to our economy, this despicable act poses even a greater risk to the lives of the people in those areas and safety of their environment. Many at times, this act of pipeline vandalism has resulted in huge explosions and fire incidents with attendant loss of lives and property, and further degradation of the environment.
It is even more worrisome that this horrifying act of sabotage is persisting at time when the country is reeling in the throes of economic recession, blowing up pipelines as a means of attracting government attention or settling whatever scores is to say the least, most callous, wicked and unpatriotic. Every liter of oil that is spilled or stolen represents a portion of our collective wealth that is stolen or wasted. It is really disheartening that in spite of various interventions and security measures put in place by the government and the security agencies, the act of vandalism still rears its ugly head.
Consequently, the Centre recommends as follows:
1. There is need for more consultations and negotiations among stakeholders in the region especially the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Traditional rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities (TROMCON), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Joint Task Force (JTF) and youth leaders in the region. Their interactions will be with a view to identifying the real cause of this monumental economic sabotage and to proffer solutions.
2. The Presidential Amnesty Office which coordinates the reintegration and training programmes for former agitators in the region should properly get the restive youths constantly reintegrated into its programme.
3. Government at the federal and state levels should also continue show greater concern on the plight of riverine communities who are desperately lacking basic amenities such as roads, portable water, schools, hospitals among others
4. There is the need for the NNPC and other stakeholders to urgently invest in and deploy digital system of surveillance, including drones, which has the capacity to detect and report anywhere pipelines are tampered with.
5. Relevant government agencies must engage in sensitization of citizens against willful destruction of critical assets of the government including oil pipelines as well as the consequences of pipeline vandalism.
Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd)
28 January, 2016