Pipeline Vandalism; A Major Challenge to Nigeria’s Economy

By Adewole Kehinde

Frequent attacks on oil pipelines are worrisome due to its devastating environmental effects. It destroyed arable land for agriculture and caused economic losses in terms of revenue to the government.

The sabotage of oil installations and the resultant repairs of pipelines have depleted Nigeria’s income around N898.93bn in 2021 according to a report from the NNPC Ltd.

An analysis of the monthly losses beginning from January this year revealed that the country had been losing humongous sums as a result of crude oil losses and pipeline repairs.

The NNPC’s presentation to FAAC in February showed that nothing was expended on pipeline repairs in January, as there was also no record on product losses and value shortfall in the same month.

But in March, the oil firm told FAAC that it spent N4.19bn in the preceding month on the repairs of pipelines, adding that crude oil valued at N26.99bn was lost in the same month.

In its April presentation, the company said repairs and management of pipelines gulped N3.68bn in March, while total product losses and value shortfall was put at N62.03bn.

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The report presented to FAAC in May showed that N1.68bn was spent on fixing pipelines in the preceding month and during the same month, the NNPC recorded N62.93bn product losses.

In its presentation in June, the NNPC said a total of N4.15bn was used for pipeline repairs from its receipts in May, while total product losses and value shortfall were N127.41bn.

Data from the July report showed that N4.53bn was used to fix and manage pipelines in June and product losses in the same month were put at N165.98bn.

Figures contained in the presentation to FAAC in August indicated that N3.66bn was spent in repairing pipelines in July, while oil products valued at N106.98bn was lost.

The September report showed that nothing was expended in the preceding month on pipeline repairs, but product losses and value shortfall were put at N173.13bn.

The NNPC’s October 2021 records showed that the total pipeline repairs and management cost in September was N629.28m, while total product losses and value shortfall during the same period were N150.96bn.

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There is no doubt that the vandalism of revenue generating infrastructure is dangerous to the economy.

The above development is very sad and highly counter-productive economically and if the development is not nipped in the bud, it would further worsen the already sorry state of Nigeria’s economy.

There is no doubt the incessant pipeline vandalism is caused by some security operatives’ compromise and there is need for more stringent measures to checkmate the phenomenon.

I will also advise the Federal government and oil companies to empower the youths in oil-bearing communities in order to permanently curb the ugly trend of vandalism.

The Government should know that engaging the unemployed youths in profitable ventures would help to turn their interest away from all kinds of crime and criminality, including pipeline vandalism and oil bunkering.

I am using this medium to call on the Federal Government to strengthen surveillance through the use of drones and the deployment of other forms of technology such as the Automated Oil and Gas Pipeline Protector which works by detecting the earth vibration signals unique to ground digging and pipeline breakage using custom designed sensing units.

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The Federal Government should also consider recruiting oil pipeline surveillance guards for the protection of oil and gas installations across the country.

Also, the NNPC should not relent in collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders in a bid to reduce and eventually eliminate the menace of pipeline vandalism nationwide.

Finally, I will call on the host communities to shun pipeline vandalism. They should know that aside from suffering environmental degradation from spillage, they also lose compensation once vandalism was established as the cause of any spillage.

Adewole Kehinde is a Public Affairs Analyst based in Abuja and can be reached via 08166240846, 08123608662. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com

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