Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC), Mele Kyari, says that churches, mosques, security agencies as well as community leaders where pipelines pass through, are involved in pipeline vandalism and theft of petroleum products.
He made the disclosure Tuesday at the 49th Session of State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team.
Kyari disclosed that 295 illegal connection spots have been discovered on a pipeline stretch of 200-kilometre with 344 reservoirs created by vandals and 355 pots confiscated from them.
“Because of the very unfortunate acts of vandals along our major pipelines from Atlas Cove all the to Ibadan, and all others connecting all the 37 depots that we have across the country, none of them can take delivery of products today. And the reason is very simple.
“For some of the lines, for instance, from Warri to Benin, we haven’t operated that line for 15 years. Every molecule of product that we put there got lost. And of course you remember the sad incident of the fire incident very close to Warri, close to Sapele that killed so many people.
“So, we had to shut it down and as we speak, there is high level of losses that we have on our product pipelines.
“You remember that Lagos area. When a fire outbreak happened in one of our pipelines, we discovered that some of the pipelines were actually connected to individuals homes.
“And not only that, and with all sensitivity to our religious beliefs, you know, some of the pipelines and some of the products that we found, are actually in churches and in mosques.
“That means that everybody is involved. There is no way you will take products, bring in trucks in populated neighborhoods, load it and leave without everybody else knowing about it.
“That everybody includes members of the community, members of the religious leadership and also and most likely government officials of all natures, including security agencies personnel.
“They are everywhere. And I’ve seen this even in the Niger Delta. There’s no way you would deliver a volume and lose upto 30 percent and you will continue to put that products in this line”, he said.
Nonetheless, Kyari vowed to ensure the prosecution of 122 persons arrested in connection with the vandalization of pipelines.
On decision to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network nationwide, Kyari, argued that although the security agencies are doing their part, end-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.
He said: “We need private contractors to man the right of way to these pipelines. So we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision.”
This is even as he has declared that the decision to hire private contractors including that of Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, to man its oil pipeline network nationwide, is the right one.
Fielding further questions on the contract, Kyari explained that although the FG is not dealing directly with the former warlord, it has signed a contract with a company in which Tompolo has interests.
The NNPC boss also said he firm had spent a total sum of N600 billion on rehabilitation of roads across the country so far.
He gave the assurance that with the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries and the Dangote Refineries coming on stream, Nigeria would become an exporter of petroleum products by the middle of next year.