Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said the persistent attacks on Nigeria's 5,120 km petroleum pipeline across the country has become a huge threat to her national security structure, considering the frequent burden of costs it exerts on the nation.
Alison-Madueke said recently at the re-launching of the refurbished Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) Benin petroleum supply depot that the loss of lives and burden of environmental remediation from such vandalisation, which the country ordinarily should not have to bear was becoming enormous.
She stated in her remarks that such unwholesome practice was inimical to the advancement of Nigeria's oil and gas industry, adding that proactive and collective measures must be sustained to stem the alarming rate of pipeline vandalisation in the country.
According to the minister: "We are all witnesses to the killing of staff members of the NNPC at Arepo last year by suspected oil vandals as well as the amount of environmental remediation that was done as result of that singular act. The loss of lives and burden of environmental remediation from pipeline vandalisation has come with enormous cost to the country and this is also threatening our national security".
She however expressed grateful to the Joint Task Force and the Nigerian Navy for their efforts at stemming the menace of vandalism in the country. She added: "As we go on, there is still much more work to be done but this is a practical show of what can be done when we all work together as stakeholders to push this sector forward and I am very pleased indeed."
Earlier, Managing Director of PPMC, Haruna Momoh, noted that the refurbished Benin depot with a capacity to hold 121,720,000 litres would be able to conveniently satisfy the petroleum needs of Edo, Kogi and Ondo states respectively, adding that members of the Joint Military Taskforce were really instrumental in guarding the processes of repairs on the pipeline network.
Momoh said: "Accessing Benin depot was not an easy task. About 1760 vandalised points had to be repaired on the 89.9km stretch of pipeline between Warri and Benin with the use of several contractors.
The notorious axis for these nefarious activities include Oghara, Okwuabude, Okwuedjeba, Okwadede, Ibada Elume, Eko-Amukpe, Imasabo, Ikpoba, Oregha and Jesse amongst others. NNPC also engaged SAPPERS, the engineering arm of the Nigerian Army to clear and grade the pipelines Right-of-Way (RoW) and may I use this opportunity to mention that our RoW is visibly encroached with buildings on some parts of the pipeline, in interest of safety, we urge the intervention of the state government in enforcing our RoW and dealing with encroachment o the pipeline."