The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Monday disclosed that about N60 billion is spent yearly to repair and maintain the vandalized pipeline points across the country.
Mohammed, who made the disclosure at a town hall meeting on protecting oil and gas infrastructure in Abuja, said over 1,161 pipeline points across the country were vandalized between January 2019 and September 2020, even as N60 billion is spent yearly.
The Minister noted that an average of 200,000 barrels of oil is lost per day due to the wanton damage to pipelines in the country.
He observed that apart from the impact on the nation’s earnings, there are also three environmental problems caused by the incessant vandalism, such as freshwater , air and soil pollution.
The Minister lamented that Nigeria has long suffered massive infrastructure deficit due to decades of neglect, population explosion and the absence of maintenance culture. But since coming into office in 2015, Mohammed said, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has embarked on a rapid economic growth with equity, i.e. people-centered economic management as well as the prioritizing of human capital development through enhanced social services and development of infrastructure.
He noted that despite a drastic drop in revenues and competing priorities, especially that of tackling insecurity, the administration has invested heavily in providing new infrastructure, in addition to reconstructing and rehabilitating existing ones.
He stated the need to protect oil and gas infrastructure , adding that such step is important, considering that the destruction of this infrastructure has socio-economic and environmental implications.
He said that with oil providing 80 per cent of Nigeria’s budgetary revenues, and 95 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, one can only imagine the impact of the incessant destruction of oil pipelines on the economy.
He added that public infrastructure is at the very core of economic growth, and national development; saying the destruction of public infrastructure by some unpatriotic Nigerians calls for great concern and immediate action.
He stated that it was in recognition of the importance of protecting public utilities, including oil pipelines that informed the decision to organize the town hall meeting series to sensitize communities, especially those where infrastructure are located, to be conscious of the the need to protect them, expose, arrest and prosecute all those who engage in vandalisation other forms of sabotage.
He said, “To have such laudable efforts of the government thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure is totally unacceptable.
To have railway tracks subjected to wanton destruction, bridge railings removed, manhole covers pilfered, street lights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities and critical aviation infrastructure damaged or stolen do not augur well for our growth and development.
Apart from endangering the lives of fellow innocent citizens, such unpatriotic acts take a toll on the government’s limited revenue, as it seeks to replace, rehabilitate or totally reconstruct such destroyed infrastructure”.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Coorporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari revealed that from January-December 2020, losses along system 2B amounted to 146.809 Million litres of PMS valued at N22.487bn.
He said notable hotspot areas include, Abagbo, Ikate, Akaraba, Ilashe, Imoren, Ijegun, Ikotun, Baruwa, Oke Odo, Warewa and Ilara.
He noted that system 2E lost 0.237Million Litres of PMS valued at N36.3million in 2020 stressing that fom January-May NNPC pipeline segments have suffered 203 pipeline breaks with System 2B having 80 pipeline breaks , while System 2E has a total of 114 pipeline breaks with a total cummulative loss of 39million litres amounting to N5.973bn
Kyari stated that attacks on oil facilities are a major concern to the government as the activities of vandals have resulted to environmental damage, huge product losses, high cost of repairs, huge time loss on operations, as well as human and property damage.
He urged the ctizens to take the pipelines as critical national assets and report activities of suspected vandals to relevant authorities.
He appealed to community leaders to ensure that pipeline right-of-way is not encroached on to avoid incidence of fire outbreak.