18 March 2015, Lagos – In a bid to nip the growing scourge of pipeline vandalism in the bud, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Nigerian LNG Limited, NLNG, have resolved to involve the various communities in their areas of operation to provide security for their infrastructure.
While the NNPC announced the renewal and extension of the pipeline protection contract to some of its host communities, the NLNG said their host communities have been made critical stakeholders through provision of amenities, contracts, scholarship and training programmes for the youths.
According to NLNG source, “Our 120 kilometres of pipeline are intact because in our host communities, we identify owners of the land, families give us their representatives.
“We empower them; give them contracts so that they will be busy. We give them scholarships, electricity and water, so as to give them sense of belonging.They become stakeholders in the NLNG and protect our facilities,” he said.
Explaining the rationale behind the renewal of the contract which was first awarded to communities in 2011, the NNPC spokesman, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, said that there has been a noticeable increase in the spate of attacks on crude oil, products, and gas pipelines since the expiration of the first community-based contract in 2012.
He said the attacks have led to frequent production shut-ins and deferrals of gas supply to power plants.
“The pipeline protection contract is part of our community engagement programme across our host communities aimed at getting community members to help in the task of protecting the pipelines around their communities,” he said.
He explained that the involvement of communities in the past helped minimise the spate of pipelines vandalism.
According to him, “It would be recalled that while the earlier pipeline protection contract to the communities which lasted from 2011 to 2012 subsisted, breaches to our pipelines were minimal which condributed to the rise in production.”
The recent rise in the frequency and intensity of willful attacks on our pipelines dictates that we step up our community engagement programme to help stem the tide of the pipeline vandalism scourge.
“In the current programme, we have not only renewed the contracts for the three initial community-based companies involved in the 2011 contract, we have extended the programme to five other community-based companies in other states where we have a high concentration of pipelines stretching from the Niger Delta to the Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Lagos States.
“The contracts do not in any way obviate or undermine the responsibility of the police and other security agencies to protect the pipelines. They are actually designed to complement the work of the security agencies by raising the alarm and drawing the attention of security agencies to any suspicious movements around the pipelines right of way,” he stated.”
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had earlier disclosed that Nigeria is losing about 160,000 barrels of oil daily due to activities of pipeline vandals.
The Minister further said that the saboteurs go as far as under the water to puncture pipelines in order to disrupt the economy. “If you have people who are paid to swim under the water to puncture gas pipelines, clearly, nobody is going to gather gas. So, it is being done with the clear intent of damaging and disrupting this economy.