By Mike Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday, said it has forged an alliance with some key stakeholders in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry with a view to stamping out the ugly incidences of oil pipeline vandalism while ultimately sustaining the prevailing sanity in the supply and distribution of Petroleum Products across the country.
In a statement in Abuja, Engr. Yemi Adetunji, Chief Operating Officer, Downstream of the NNPC, who led a team of critical stakeholders to the site of a recent oil-pipeline fire in Baruwa community, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, said it had become imperative for players and stakeholders in the Industry to come on board with the corporation in its effort to stamp out the ugly menace.
He stated that the fire incident of 5th December, 2019 which was immediately extinguished within 24 hours with subsequent restoration of the affected line, was one ugly episode which must not be allowed to fester, especially in the System 2B Pipeline Network which serves as an invaluable corridor for seamless supply of petroleum products.
He noted that last year there was a fire outbreak in the same Baruwa community and this year two incidences were reported in November and December, saying security agencies and the local community must rise up to the challenge and secure oil pipeline facilities which he described as critical national assets.
The downstream boss, however, assured that the Baruwa pipeline attacks would not affect the current seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide, even as he added that the corporation had emplaced a reliable product supply mechanism to handle situations of this nature.
Also speaking, Mr. Aloga Ogbogo, the Executive Secretary, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said that the protection of oil pipeline infrastructure should be the responsibility of every well-meaning Nigerian.
On his part, Comrade Salmon Oladiti, National Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), affirmed the commitment of his members to work with NNPC to combat the activities of oil thieves and pipeline hackers.
He said PTD prohibited its members from partaking in the illicit transport of stolen products because it views it as an act of economic sabotage.
The Chairman of Peace Estate Development Association, Engr. Omojowo Adedeji, said that the entire residents of the estate, which borders the scene of incessant attacks, fully aligned with the renewed drive by the NNPC to stamp out the illicit trade in stolen oil within and around the community.
Alhaji Khalid Baruwa, the Bale of Baruwa Community also identified with the push by the corporation to tackle the issue headlong.
He stressed the need to fortify surveillance around the community with clear demarcation of pipeline Right-of-Way.