ON Tuesday the Senate asked the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari, to appear before its Committee on Petroleum Resources, over the increased rate of pipeline vandalism across the country.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced this after Ibrahim Gobir, chairman of the Senate’s ad hoc committee on the recent explosion of NNPC pipelines in Rivers and Lagos States, presented his report on the floor of the Senate.
In the report several officials of the NNPC, Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company and firms securing the facilities are allegedly acting in collusion with vandals to sabotage the pipelines, leading to the loss of lives.
The report specifically alleged that some officials of the NNPC were aware of the Komkom pipeline leakage in Rivers State, two days before the explosion but hesitated in taking necessary action.
Records obtained from NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report, MFOR, indicates that the number of oil pipeline breaches peaked in July with 228 vandalised points. This showed a 77 per cent increase when compared to its June figures with 106 vandalised points.
Senator Ibrahim Hassan representing Jigawa North Senatorial district urged the committee to punish officials who were culpable in the act of oil vandalism.
“Those that are found culpable should be punished; there is negligence on the part of those that are supposed to be monitoring the pipeline. We have found out that there is gross negligence and should not be ignored. “ Senator Ibrahim Hassan #TodayInSenatePlenary
— The Nigerian Senate (@NGRSenate) November 12, 2019
Lawan directed the Senate Committee on Petroleum (downstream) to invite the NNPC with a view to ensuring a review of security measures for pipelines in parts of the country.
He also said the National Assembly will amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Act to prevent the activities of pipeline vandals that lead to explosions and deaths.
“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 a 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,” he said.
He also stated the National Assembly will amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Act to prevent the activities of pipeline vandals that lead to explosions and deaths.
“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 the reoccurrence of these criminal acts,” he said.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.