Absence Of NNPC Pipeline Surveillance Contractors: Bonny Community, Fishermen Organization Cry Out Over Catastrophic Bunkery In Oloma
Communities behind the Oloma flow station in Bonny Local government area of Rivers state and the Organization of Fishermen Seafood Dealers and Farmers in Niger delta. (OFSDF/ND) have decried the absence of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC Pipeline surveillance contractors within the Oloma flow station and its environs, lamenting that the absence of such contractors have accounted for countless and massive bunkery activities in the area that has caused monumental damage to the environment and fishing activities.
Speaking to villagers and fishermen on how to help tackle the menace in one of the catastrophic crude spill affected community, Otokomabiri lying about 600 meters behind the NNPC Oloma flow station, Chairman Board of trustee of OFSDF/ND, Mr. Richard Abbey challenged NNPC to name the pipeline surveillance contractors in charge of the NNPC Oloma flow station axis saying it is evident that the ones contracted within the area has reneged or does not exist.
Hear him: “If the government has contracted anyone within the Oloma axis to safeguard NNPC pipelines, it then means some persons are defrauding the people of millions of naira meant for guarding pipeline within Oloma and other Bonny communities as well as creating room for vandals to take advantage”.
Abbey observed that some persons collect money on monthly basis in the name of surveillance but never puts up any sort of appearance in the area. This he said allows pipeline vandals to take advantage of their absence to perpetrate vandalization and bunkery activities. He said it is regrettable that other areas enjoy the presence of pipeline surveillance contractors while that of Bonny remains a pipe dream.
“Our message to NNPC and relevant authorities is clear, NNPC should tell us which contractor is in charge of the Oloma axis., the spate of bunkery doesn't suggest the slightest presence of surveillance contractor is in the area. We are tired, today burst pipelines tomorrow clamping and this has turned out a problem for communities like Oloma, Okoloma lodge and Otokomabiri within the flow station”, he said.
On the alternative and to help stall this sabotage, he urged NNPC to contract part of the surveillance job to the organization to provide fishermen and community members living within the flow station to form a more formidable security team to tackle the menace. As fishermen in the area we are seriously affected by these bunkery activities, we are angst by the fact that some persons are paid millions of naira to take care of the pipelines but yet look the way while huge catastrophic bunkery activities are carried out hence we are offering ourselves to help stop this” he said.
Similarly, resident chief of Otokomabiri fishing community in the area, chief Lucky Williams said his people are ready to spend extra time to keep awake and wade against the activities of the bunkerers and by way of giving out relevant and prompt information that will assist relevant security operatives apprehend perpetrators.
He noted that fishermen are not involved with the bunkery because they know the implication but stressed, 'We are ready to provide manpower to help fight this scourge if NNPC wants us to assist. It is unfortunate that contractors are paid heavily as pipeline surveillance guards but never turns up to guard against any pipeline in this area”, he said, adding that the fishing community have never seen anyone in the area protecting NNPC pipeline. He urged them to incorporate fishermen in the surveillance plan to ensure that the sabotage is nipped in the bud.
Chairman board of trustee of Otokomabiri community, Atti John Amabi has also called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to probe the contractor in charge of surveillance contract in the area and possibly ask him to work with the locals to achieve set objective.
It will be recalled that sustained vandalization of pipeline within the Oloma flow station has been a source of concern to government, residents and fishermen in the area, and has dreadfully destroyed vegetation. According to a soil expert in the area, Jeremiah Alaputa he disclosed that the recent spills in t6he area has affected vegetation so much so that it is expected to take about a minimum of twenty years to restore lost vegetation around the area. He cautioned that NNPC must ensure constant patrol between Otokomabiri behind the flow station and Okolo lodge within the night hours to stall bunkering. Allaputa also warned that what happened in Texas where spill ignited fire and caused untold damage must be averted in the area considering that Bonny and its environs are circled with crude and gas pipelines underneath. “if anything like fire sparks up as a result of these bunker activities it will surely cause huge loss of lives and properties.
(First Left, Richard Abbey With Some Members Of The Fishermen Organization (OFSDF/ND) During The Visit To One Of The Communities Behind The Flow Station Hit By The NNPC Pipeline Spill In Otokomabiri To Urge Them To Help In The Fight Against Pipeline Vandalisation