Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday called on the Federal Government to seek new ways to solve oil pipeline vandalism in the country saying the time has come to evolve modern methods to protect the pipelines.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Lagos House Marina while playing host to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwan Lukman, said the need has become more urgent because many of the areas that were rural communities and far-flung places decades ago when the pipelines were laid have become urban centres thereby exposing the pipes with the attendant dangers.
The Governor told the Minister, who was accompanied by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Mohammed Barkindo and other top functionaries of the Ministry, â€œHonestly, I think we should simply move away from whose fault it is to how to really put an end to itâ€.
Citing the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos which, according to him, used to be in the most far-flung part of Lagos but is now in the city centre,Â the Governor said, â€œIf we look at the airport as that kind of infrastructure, we need to become more creative. May be the NNPC would have to make a special case, not just for Lagos but for other parts of the countryâ€, adding that technology has provided useful options for better encasing and protecting the pipelines.
Governor Fashola also enjoined the Minister to ensure that governments at the state level are made aware of the locations of oil pipelines and when repairs are being carried out on them in their areas of jurisdiction because, according to him, â€œWe are the first responders when accidents happen, when emergencies occur so that we will know what is where and who is whereâ€.
â€˜It is important to stress this point because it has significant healthcare implications for us. As enormousÂ as our problems may seem, every damaged pipeline spills its contents into the grounds and that is where we extract the water we drink and our children drinkâ€, Governor Fashola said adding that the increasing cases of cancer in the society today could be traceable to pollution of ground water by such spills.