24 September 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – NIGERIAN National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says its enigineers are ready to return to the site of the vandalised fuel pipeline at Arepo in Ogun State, as soon as they get assurances from the police.
Dr Omar Ibrahim, General Manager, Media Relations of NNPC, made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja on Monday.
He said NNPC had already met with the leadership of the Special Task Force on Anti-pipeline Vandalism set up by the Inspector General of Police to ensure adequate security for NNPC officials.
He said, “On Sunday, we went to the site in Arepo with the assistant commissioner of police in-charge of the task force and they are taking strategic positions to ensure the place is adequately secured.”
Ibrahim, however, said that the large and swampy terrain of the site posed a serious challenge for adequate security of the place.
“People need to understand the nature of the terrain in Arepo and how challenging it is to adequately secure the area.
“The terrain is a rugged open land, very swampy and with a lot of trees running into hectares. So they (security agents) need to assure our officials that they would not be attacked again when they eventually return to site,” he said.
The general manager stated that the chairman of the task force and his team were working round the clock to ensure that sanity returned to the area and engineers’ promptly returned to effect the necessary repairs on the pipeline.
“We are just waiting for the chairman of the task force to give us the go-ahead to return to site. We just want an assurance of adequate security for our officials,” Ibrahim said.
He said the task force recently arrested six suspects in connection with the vandalism and expressed optimism that more arrests would soon be made.
Hoodlums recently attacked officials of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of NNPC, when they were working to repair the vandalised pipeline in Arepo village, Ogun.
Three workers were reportedly killed by the vandals, prompting NNPC not to return to the site unless their security was guaranteed.
The Arepo pipeline carries between 10 million litres and 11 million litres of fuel per day to Lagos and its environs and some states in the northern part of the country.
The vandalism of the pipeline led to huge disruption in the supply chain and shortage in fuel supply to most parts of the country.
This has prompted NNPC to increase the use of trucks to cushion the effect of the damage on supplies, pending the completion of repairs at the site.