07 April 2015, Lagos – A community leader, Titus Shenkale has petitioned the federal government, demanding that it reconsiders the procedures adopted in engaging communities to protect its long stretch of petroleum pipelines across the country.
Shenkale, who alleged that his company, Gabskel Industries Limited initiated the operational plan for engagement of communities in pipeline security, noted that the government has betrayed its trust by the unfair selection of the beneficiary companies and excluding his company.
Shenkale in a document containing his petition amongst others alleged that the government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had impersonated a proposal it submitted to it for effective security of the country’s petroleum pipelines through host communities.
He said that the proposal has been passed on to the beneficiary companies to implement without his company’s authorisation.
NNPC recently renewed its contracts with communities to secure its petroleum pipelines, stating that the measure became necessary to effectively combat the growing scourge of pipeline sabotage that had impacted negatively on its operations.
But Shenkale stated in the petition which was made available to THISDAY in Abuja that his company had in 2012 presented a proposal and also made presentations to the government on the use of host communities along pipelines Rights of Way (RoW) to secure the petroleum pipelines from vandalism.
According to him, the proposal was submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government and Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and presentation on same made to a technical panel set up by the NNPC which eventually made recommendations suggesting that his company should be engaged to implement a pilot scheme of the proposal.
Shenkale however alleged that the pipeline protection proposal which he submitted to the government was subsequently adopted and transferred to individuals who were later contracted by the NNPC to secure its pipelines.
The NNPC had explained in its award of the security contract that its renewal of the contract with communities which was first awarded in 2011 was done because of the 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, thus leading to frequent production shut-ins and deferrals of gas supply to power plants.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Ohi Alegbe had said in a statement that “The pipeline protection contract is part of our community engagement programme across our host communitiesaimed at getting community members to help in the task of protecting the pipelines around their communities.”
NNPC also noted that while the earlier pipeline protection contract to the communities lasted from 2011 to 2012, breaches on its pipelines were minimal and resulted to rise in production.
The corporation further explained that recent rise in the frequency and intensity of willful attacks on its pipelines dictates that it step up community engagement programme to help stem the tide of pipeline vandalism.
“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,” NNPC added.
But in his condemnation of the selection process, Shenkale said: “Our presentations and re-evaluation on the issue have been done with the NNPC since October 2012.
During our presentation, we agreed on the possibilities of employing the pipelines communities’ personalities, using Lagos/Mosinmi zone as a test case,” said NNPC.
– This Day