•Lagos, S’West axis affected
•Problems owing to activities of vandals
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it lost over N165 billion to vandalism between 2009 and 2012.
The corporation also disclosed that between October and December 2012, it recorded 774 different points of hacking into its products pipelines from Atlas Cove in Lagos and Ilorin in Kwara State.
The Group Manager, Media Relations Department, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Mr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, who disclosed this in an interview with Sunday Mirror, noted that the corporation faced the biggest problem of vandalism along the system 2B axis. Ibrahim, who bemoaned the activities of the vandals, lamented that such actions had almost crippled the corporation’s distribution system.
“It is a very serious matter I must tell; in a matter of months, our distribution system would almost be made to collapse, particularly from Lagos to Ibadan.
“In Arepo area, and this system 2B, which was destroyed last August, last two weeks, and a couple of days ago, carries one third of national consumption of our products and it is in the course of looking at all of this that we found that there were hundreds of points where vandals have punctured and were siphoning products.
“And if you put all of these together, it will run into colossal sums of money that NNPC is losing and by implication the nation also,” he said. Ibrahim described vandalism as a national tragedy, which if not properly checked would amount to monumental losses from the nation’s economy.
According to the NNPC spokesman, even though the corporation is doing its best by collaborating with various security agencies, the business of protecting the pipelines is the responsibility of all well-meaning Nigerians and all hands must be on deck to ensure that the ugly development was put to a stop.
He, therefore, called for more efforts from the federal, states and local governments, including local communities through which the pipelines travel to do more in the area of securing the facilities.
Ibrahim said NNPC is considering a lot of options in order to put a deterrent, including laying the pipes deeper into the ground or covering them with concrete encasement in order to make pipeline vandalism unattractive to criminally-minded individuals.
He said the next phase of pipeline projects would be fortified in such a way that criminals would not be able to tamper with them, stressing that hacking into the pipelines does a lot of harm to future generation of Nigerians.
According to him, when the pipelines were being laid, the tendency for vandalism was not considered because such anomaly had never happened before.
“But, over time, the temptation to break into pipelines became manifest because people saw that as the easiest way to make money,” he added.