Senate accuses govt officials of conniving with pipeline vandals - Trends and Politics


Thursday, 14 November 2019

Senate accuses govt officials of conniving with pipeline vandals

The Senate has accused officials of government of conniving with criminals in vandalising oil pipelines, urging that they be sanctioned and prosecuted if identified.
The President of the senate, Ahmed Lawan spoke during plenary on Tuesday after the consideration of the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Pipeline Explosions during plenary. 
Lawan directed the Senate Committee on Petroleum (downstream) to invite the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with a view to ensuring a review of security measures for pipelines in parts of the country.
The Senate President also said the National Assembly will amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act to prevent the activities of pipeline vandals that leads to explosions and deaths.
He said: “Our Committee on Petroleum (downstream) should invite the NNPC with a view to know what they have been doing over the years to secure the pipelines; what measures are in place and whether there is need to review these agreements.
This is a multi-billion dollar industry. People consciously do these things, it’s not an accident. Those who are caught in the fires or who come to scavenge are the ones who end up losing their lives. This is not acceptable.
There must be sanctions, somebody will have to pay the price and of course, after these resolutions are sent to the executive, our committee must follow it up. 
When we have to amend the NOSDRA Act, this is something that we have to do expeditiously. We should do it because it will help in preventing or minimising reoccurrence of these criminal acts."
Earlier in his contribution to the debate on the report, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu The lawmaker, therefore, called for the introduction of punishment for any official of the corporation caught conniving with pipeline vandals.
If there is no punishment for any offence, the tendency that it will be repeated severally will be there.
The people in NNPC must find those people and discipline them. I’m suggesting that the downstream committee should follow up this issue to make sure those people managing these pipelines face the music. We have to get these people and ensure they are punished,” Utazi said.
The lawmaker also called for the amendment of the NOSDRA Act.
Let us get all these laws concerned with the regulation of the petroleum industry amended holistically,” he added.
Another lawmaker, Senator Ibrahim Musa (APC, Jigawa North) said the government should “focus on the criminal rings responsible for the initial pipeline breakage.”
Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo West), who described pipeline vandalism as an act of economic sabotage, called on the Federal Government to subject the surveillance of oil pipelines to contractual arrangements with private firms.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central), accused the NNPC of conniving with vandals to sabotage the economy by encouraging the activities of oil pipeline vandals.
This is not an act of negligence but connivance. The NNPC knows what to do and cannot claim ignorance.
The NNPC knows from their office when a pipeline is vandalised. I want to support my colleagues that they should be punished.”
According to the Ad-Hoc committee’s report, the incidences of pipeline explosions in Rivers and Lagos States would have been avoided if the NNPC/Nigerian Pipeline Storage Company (NPSC) and contractors monitoring the pipelines were proactive.
Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, said both NNPC/NPSC and the contractor were aware of the Komkom pipeline leakage in Rivers State, two days before the explosion but delayed in taking necessary action.
The lawmaker disclosed further that both NNPC/NPSC and the Oilserv contractor were aware of the intended activity of the vandals and the leakage a week and a day respectively, before the Ijegun explosion in Lagos State.

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