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Why Ogun pipeline vandalism may continue

By The Citizen
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Pipeline vandalism prevalent at the Arepo,  Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State may continue if a patrol team of armed men is not deployed in the area to cover both land and water.

Residents at the area, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, said cases of vandalism of the System 2B pipeline running through the area might continue if more serious security approaches were not adopted.

The residents accused both the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Ogun State government of negligence.

They maintained that aside having security men on land, there was the need to have patrol teams on the water because main vandals often came through the river.

A resident, Mr. Tayo Odulami, said only tight security measures could checkmate the vandals.

According to him, for vandals to invade Arepo a few days after the repair of the System 2B pipeline meant that there were huge security challenges around the area.

He stressed the need for the NNPC and the Ogun State government to holistically address the issue, and stop paying lip service to the issue.

Another resident, Mr. Imoh Sunday, said the security lapses called for the reassessment of roles played by various agencies of government in safeguarding the national asset.

He said, 'If this pipeline is very important to the country as they say, why can't government and the NNPC put a stop to the problem?

'For me, it now appears as if these criminals are more powerful than everybody.

'This is the right time for government to make a point. The whole world is watching. Something concrete must be done fast.'

The Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ms. Tumini Green, in a statement on Wednesday had said, 'We are unhappy that barely one week after the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, paid a working visit to the scene of the last fire and pumping of products resumed afterwards, we are back to the same situation.

' It is so sad indeed, however, as a corporation, we are determined to ensure unimpeded flow of petroleum products no matter the odds,'' Green said.

She said fire trucks and engineers from the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company were on ground to commence repair works.

Green called on the public to refrain from hoarding and panic buying of petrol, saying the NNPC would fix the line as soon as possible.

'We did it before by fixing the line in less than 24 hours after the last incident and we are prepared to do it again. What we need from members of the public is vigilance. We must work together as a team to protect and safeguard the pipeline, which is a collective national asset,'' Green stated.

On January the NNPC began pumping of petrol through the System 2B pipeline, which was ruptured at four points. In less than a week (January 22), the pipeline was vandalised again.

A statement from the corporation then quoted the NNPC GMD as saying the NNPC was working out a way to make the pipeline less accessible to oil thieves and vandals.

Yakubu had said, 'There is no reason to entertain fears about fuel scarcity because we have enough products in Mosimi to last for some days; but beyond that, our men have already clamped the four points that were ruptured and there is no fear of disruption of distribution and supply as such.

'This is a stop-gap measure. We just made some observations now on how to make the pipeline less accessible.' (Punch)