By Prince Okafor
To safeguard Nigeria’s pipeline network and checkmate the rising incidence of vandalism and products theft, transport owners have called on the Federal Government to demolish structures on the pipelines right of way, ROW, by properly demarcating the assets.
Speaking at the end of the 2015 edition of the Oil Trading Logistics Conference in Lagos yesterday, the President, National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Alhaji Kasim Bataiya, argued that the pipelines ROW cannot be properly monitored due to the inappropriate structures built on them.
He said: “Today, on most of the Nigerian pipelines you can see even structures built on top of them, the ROW have been identified by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, but there is no proper demarcation.”
As a result, he insisted that the pipelines ROW must be properly demarcated, as the structures built on them portend grave danger to Nigerians and the economy.
Already Nigeria is losing so much from both crude and products theft through pipelines vandalism. It is estimated that as at August 2015, the country had lost about N51.714billion to crude oil thieves in addition to another $300million annually to those stealing refined products from vandalised pipelines.
To curtail the menace of pipeline vandalism and products theft, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had said that government will deploy drones for pipelines surveillance, in addition to reinforcing military efforts.
Besides the introduction of drones to monitor the pipelines, he disclosed that efforts to patrol the country’s coastal waters; equipping and increasing the capabilities of the security services to carry out their responsibilities as well as engagement of communities to police pipelines in their areas would be intensified.
Meanwhile, truck owners have insisted that movement of petroleum products within the country is best done through trucking.
Speaking in support of trucking as a better means for products transportation instead of by railway or water as being clamoured for, a former deputy chair, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Hon Aro Bamidele, said: “truck is the best for products transportation,” adding that drivers only needed to be more careful, as there are additional allowances for accident free trips.
Contributing, Bataiya noted that despite the criticism that trucking is accident prone, he noted that accidents are inevitable no matter the means adopted. He added that it is neither the drivers nor the trucks that cause the accidents but the bad road situation in the country.
Similarly, rather than blaming the truck drivers, the Chairman/Managing Director, Rotimi Ilesanmi Nigeria Limited, Otunba Rotimi Ilesanmi, said it is the duty of the government to address the road mishaps.
According to him, “The government need to ensure we have good roads, like those abroad,” adding that “There is the need to educate the drivers, as most of the truck drivers don’t have solid training. They need to learn actual driving, not by watching their colleague when driving, garbage in garbage out, the federal government need to install certain training for all drivers.”