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Total E&p Holds Campaign Against Pipeline Vandalism For Oml58 Community Youth

By Anderson Hart

In its bid to reduce regular pipeline vandalization to forestall devastating consequences for humans and the environment, multinational oil giant, Total Exploration and ProductionCompany. organized a Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Forum for youths within its OML58 host communities tagged “STOP PIPELINE, OIL & GAS FACILITIES VANDALISM”, a campaign designed toappeal to youths and residents of the OML58host communities to help protect its pipelines and help sensitize the people on the inherent dangers of pipeline vandalism.

Speaking at the one-day event held at the L.A King Hotels and Convention Centre in Port Harcourt, the Deputy General Manager, Community Affairs & Development, Mr James Urho, represented byManager Community Relations Onshore Port Harcourt, Engr. OkechukwuObara, said the, ’Stop Pipeline, Oil &Gas Facilities Vandalism’ campaignprogram is borne out of the company’s desire, to ensure that community youths are kept abreast with theglobal HSE culture,tailored towards ensuring personal and family safety in all areas of our lives.

Hear him: “We all recognize that there is spate of pipeline vandalism in our areas, and various reasons have been made why this is so. However apart from being an economic sabotage, there is also the danger associated with the possible explosion, which is capable of destroying lives, properties and facilities. The long-term effect of this is the destruction of the environment and endangering of species that make our habitat what it is. This possible impact should give all of us cause for concern and we should reflect on the effect we are having on the future generation yet to come” he said.

GROUP MANAGER HSE OPAKIRITE BRAIDE POSE FOR PIX AFTER PRESENTING LIFE JACKET TO YOUTHS LEADERS TO HELP IN THE CAMPAIGN.

Listing some of the very obvious and immediate impact to our generation and economy, he said this vandalism causes the economy to suffer, facilities destroyed, species are endangered and driven to extinction, injuries are sustained from fire explosion, there is the suffocation of the marine animals, pollution of the arable farmland, water bodies and the environment, with the attendant impact on crop yields vis a vis environmental imbalance.

Continuing, he disclosed that this in itself creates a despondent people who no longer have the capacity to take care of themselves and as such are left at the mercies of whoever that is gracious enough to look at them.

“In view of this, TEPNG has thought it wise to bring this campaign to our host communities “Charity they say begins at home”, we can give a future back to our environment again and restore hope to our economy by preventing and stopping any act of vandalism or sabotage to our oil installation and pipelines located around us.

This campaign therefore comes at a time like this, in order to save our economy from the negative impact of this potential destruction, sometimes fuelled by the selfish ambitions of some people who want to cut corners in order to become rich. They do not consider the monumental and detrimental negative impact on the rest of the populace” he noted..

Manager Community Relations Onshore Port Harcourt, Engr. Okechukwu Obara who represented the Deputy General Manager, Community Affairs & Development, Mr James Urho making his remark.

Highlighting some of the roles of the youths in supporting this campaign, he said, ”youth from the host communities in order to prevent this type of acts; you can be your brother’s keeper when you report any act or intent of vandalism in and around us to the appropriate authority, enlightening others against such activity in order to save “our common future, adding that the future belongs to those who preserve it and it is our responsibility as the youth of today to work hard to ensure that we have a future for ourselves and our children. He said awareness is the beginning of preservation, and preservation is as a result of the actions we decide to take or not take around us, and urged them that this is the time for us to understand, be educated and act to sustain what our parents have worked so hard to leave for us, by protecting it and making sure we have it left for our children.

In his conclusion, he said, “It is my belief that the message that TEPNG has brought to us today will in no small way help in protecting oil facilities, pipelines, environment, economy and our lives and our common future, inviting all and sindry to join hands with TEPNG to restore the glory of our environment, safety for me, safety for you, and safety for all.

A CROSS SECTION OF PARTICIPATING YOUTHS FROM OML58 COMMUNITIES

Opakirite Braide, the Group Manager HSE TEPNG, in his remark told the youths thatwhat many people don’t know is that besides explosions and pipeline fires that destroy lives and property in these communities, there are more pernicious effects of pipeline vandalism such as its potential to wipe out entire communities through the harm it does to the environment as a result of the constant spillage of products. On the harmful effects of pipeline vandalism on local communities, Braide explained that the oil that is spilled into the environment when vandals and oil thieves hack into pipelines “destroys aquatic life, pollutes the ground water and renders water from boreholes unsafe for consumption; contaminates the soil and makes it unfit to support any meaningful agricultural activity; and ultimately reduce the quality of life of the people living around such places.” He urged all and sundry for a change of ways and become ambassadors of the environment by helping to talk to youths, adding that no matter how you try to remedy an already vandalized pipeline, it can never be the same.

The event witnessed a video presentation highlighting the devastating effect of pipeline vandalism and presentation of life jacket to youths in the area to help in the quest against pipeline vandalism.