By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT-HARCOURT—EIGHTEEN months after they defied the odds to repel armed vandals from feasting on the strategic Bonny-PHRC Crude Oil Pipeline on the K-Dere segment in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, some surveillance guards have been rewarded for their bravery by Ocean Marine Solutions Limited, OMSL, the contractor in charge of the facility surveillance in the area.
The company last Friday doled out cars and motorcycles to deserving stakeholders for their respective contributions to the successes being recorded on the Bonny-PHRC Crude Pipeline.
Among the beneficiaries were two surveillance guards, Dinebari Abah and Barida Muubana, whose car and motorcycle respectively were burnt by vengeful pipeline vandals.
The choice of K-Dere for staging the goodwill, according to the company’s Managing Director, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda (rtd), reflected the community’s crucial role in OMSL success story in the past one year.
“The pipeline has witnessed uninterrupted transportation of crude from the Bonny Terminal to Port Harcourt Refinery due to 24/7 running of the 24-inch pipeline without infractions by vandals in the last 17 months.
“The support and cooperation of the community and the diligence of government security forces, especially the Nigerian Army, JTF, has also led to the arrest and prosecution of some of the culprits who are currently behind bars,” said Ikioda, represented by Akpos Meze, OMSL General Manager, Operations/Community Relations.
Guided by the precarious situation on ground before it took over the surveillance, the company has further increased K-Dere statutory guards by 50 per cent and provision of motorcycles to ease transportation of the guards, guard huts and phones have also been made available to enhance safety and efficiency.
The company recalled the spirited efforts by locally recruited guards to thwart the heinous attempt by armed vandals to sabotage the K-Dere link line and vandals fought back targeting not only lives of the surveillance guards, but their property as well.
“Regrettably, some of these guards sustained bodily injuries, others got their houses and other private assets destroyed by the marauding vandals,” Ikioda said adding: “The incident would have recorded more casualties if a reprisal attempted by the affected guards had been allowed, but for swift intervention of OMSL in collaboration with Government Security Forces, GSF, that averted breakdown of law and order in the community and environs.”
Committed to promoting sustainable development and warm relations with host communities, the company swiftly doused the tension in an emergency stakeholders’ meeting, promising to support victims of the incident in rebuilding their shattered lives. That promise was kept first with professional assessment of losses suffered.
“While we sympathise with the affected guards on the unfortunate incident, especially during the trying times when some resorted to self-exile for their safety, OMSL is pleased to have satisfactorily completed renovation of all houses destroyed by the vengeful vandals,” the company revealed.
“I appeal to leaders in the communities to raise youth’s awareness on the dangers of oil theft and assets sabotage on the environment. Besides loss of revenue that should enhance government’s delivery of basic amenities for the communities, the associated pollution destroys the ecosystem and threatens health and food security, Ikioda cautioned.
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