BY MICHAEL EBOH
LAGOS — Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited, PPMC, yesterday, said the economy had lost about N165 billion in the last four years to pipeline vandalism. The sum includes the cost of repairs and products theft.
Managing Director of PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh, at the commissioning of four units of triple agent fire-fighting trucks at its Mosimi Depot, Ogun State, noted that the activities of vandals at Arepo and products theft across the country had become a recurring national embarrassment and had cost the country, N165 billion between 2009 and 2012.
He added that on a number of occasions, the vandals at Arepo, who have become notorious in their operations, attacked personnel of PPMC with guns and other dangerous weapons, and prevented them from fixing the damaged pipelines.
This, he said, led to the death of a number of personnel over the years and had brought about a huge cost on PPMC, the marketing arm of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in the area of repair of the vandalised pipelines.
He said: “In one case, the vandals killed one of our personnel, who had gone to fix a vandalised pipeline and buried him in an unknown grave. It took the intervention of the management of PPMC, who pleaded with the community for several days before they could show us the grave, allowing us to exhume the body so as to give the personnel a befitting burial.”
He maintained that PPMC had continually engaged various state governments and communities on the effective policing of the pipelines’ right of way, adding that only a committed state government will ensure the protection of pipelines within their jurisdiction, thereby ensuring smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.
Petroleum products supply still very robust
He argued that despite the acts of vandalism, the supply of petroleum products in Nigeria was still very robust, adding that the problem was in the area of distribution.
He noted: “If vandals will allow pipelines be, PPMC will be in a better position to effectively deliver petroleum products to every part of the country, in view of the fact that the pipeline is the best means of delivering products across the length and breadth of a country like Nigeria.”
He appealed to Nigerians to partner PPMC in putting an end to pipeline vandalism to prevent the disruption of products supply and to check incessant shortages across the country.
PPMC acquires fire trucks
On the acquisition of the new fire trucks, Momoh said: “Fire incidents as a result of our operations and willful damage by vandals are serious challenges that the organisation has to grapple with and address appropriately. Between 2010 and 2012, 76 fire incidents were recorded.
“Over 87 per cent of these fire incidents resulted from the nefarious activities of vandals along our pipeline right of way, a typical example is the recurring decimal of Arepo.
“The challenges of containment and control of these fire incidents by our in-house firefighting system is tasking. PPMC recognises the need to accord operational safety its rightful place by procuring these four new firefighting trucks to further strengthen our state of readiness to attend to fire emergencies.”