THE federal government said it lost over N376.6 billion in six years (2008 – 2013) to vandalism of oil and gas pipelines by crude and product thieves.
The Managing Director, Products and Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Prince Haruna Momoh, disclosed this during a capacity building workshop for media practitioners in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
Momoh, who was represented by the company’s Executive Director, Commercial, Mr. Frank Amego, said that incidents on the company’s pipelines caused by vandals rose from over 400 in 1999 to 3571 by end of 2013, while adding that the activities of vandals has been very difficult to stem.
In his analysis of the implication of the revenue losses, the Group Coordinator, Corporate Planning and Strategy of NNPC, Dr. Timothy Okon, described the act as economic sabotage, adding that the amount would have been enough for annual budget allocations for Akwa Ibom and Borno States.
The cost of securing and maintaining the pipelines, he noted, has no budgetary allocation but unknown to so many Nigerians, NNPC incurs the expenses. “We are required to provide services but there are no provisions or mechanism for the cost we incur to be addressed,” he said.
While urging the saboteurs to desist from their act, Okon stressed such incidents does not augur well for a country that aspires to be among the 20 largest economies of the world by 2020.
He said: “If you vandalise gas pipeline, it is not as if you can just put a jerry can and take it, so vandalisation of gas pipeline is pure sabotage.”
The Group Executive Director, Gas and Power, NNPC, Dr David Ige, who was represented by the Manager, Trans Nigeria Gas Pipeline, Engr. Alfred Amadi, in his presentation, disagreed with the claim of the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, that low price is responsible for the shortage of gas to power.
Ige said that it takes an average of five years to complete a 100-kilometre pipeline project, adding that meeting the pipeline infrastructure need may not be achieved in the short term.