NUPENG discloses who is behind pipeline attacks

Jun 01, 2006 02:00 AM

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), upped the ante in the raging issue of vandalisation of oil pipelines, when it declared that some workers of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), and men of the Nigerian Police Force were the brains behind attacks on pipelines.
Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the union has also issued a one-month ultimatum to the Federal Government to curb vandal’s activities or its members would stop lifting fuel all over the country.

National Chairman of Tanker Drivers Branch, Comrade Timothy Ogbu said findings by the union on the increasing rate of pipeline vandalisation across the country over the last 15 years, showed complicity of some officials of the PPMC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Police in the incidents.
"We suspect serious complicity between PPMC workers and vandals in respect of products pumping information," Ogbu said.

"When we arrested some of our members and handed them over to the police, surprisingly within one month, they are back at the depot with some of them mocking us. Some tankers arrested from pipelines sites, taken to the police station are also back on the road," Ogbu said, adding that "the few police/security operatives that stood up against the vandals were overwhelmed by those supporting them, hence the increase in the incidence of vandalisation.”
“Vandals now own tankers for the sole purpose of vandalisation," he said.

More than 200 people were roasted to death a month ago, in a pipeline fire at Inagbe, in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State. Another 60 were killed in the same area from a similar incident in year 2000, while more than 1,000 died in a pipeline fire in Jesse, Delta State in 1998.
Ogbu said the increasing rate of pipeline vandalisation, apart from the growing human casualty, was also affecting the business of tanker drivers as it was hampering petroleum products distribution across the country.

"It makes our membersto travel long distances bridging fuel from south to north. It increases road accidents and it also brought about congestion of petroleum tankers in Lagos and other port cities," he said.
He said that the activities of pipeline vandalisation cut across the country and had reached a frightening dimension such that only about six out of the 32 NNPC fuel depots are working.

The NUPENG chief said while the union had on its part, taken up the task to check the menace by engaging a private security outfit for surveillance of the pipelines from Mosimi in Sagamu, Ogun State, to Ibadan, Oyo State and to the Lagos area, it had also communicated its feelings to the Federal Government.
"We want the direct intervention of President Olusegun Obasanjo to curb this national calamity. An executive bill should be presented to the National Assembly to prescribe death penalty for pipeline vandals. The present situation where the police charge vandals to court for stealing which is a bailable offence can only encouragethem to continue on their nefarious acts."

"In Lagos recently, over 200 people were roasted like chickens. The people that caused this pipeline burst should even be shot at sight. We have resolved that if the Federal Government does not put concrete plans in place in line with our suggestions and any other they may evolve to curb vandalisation between now and one month, we shall stop lifting the fuel all over Nigeria," the union threatened.
Ogbu added that the union is poised to fight the vandalisation battle as it fought for democracy in the country between 1993 and 1994.

Source: This Day
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