A key stakeholder, and chairman of a group called Oil and Gas Host Communities, Peince Mike Emuh, has caked the federal government of Nigeria to put care of oil pipelines into the care of the host communities.
He said this is the only to check pipeline vandalism and boost Nigeria’s ability to overcome the country ability to the perennial production quota shortages.
On the other hand, the sector stakeholder state that the federal government is largely unwilling to deal decisively with the vandals because they are ‘untouchables,’ that are well known to the government.
According to Emuh, over 200 pipelines were vandalised across the Niger Delta alone, saying that it was a serious sabotage that the Federal government must take a drastic step to end the crime.
Going forward, he said the solution is for the federal government to bring the host communities into surveillance of pipelines since they are those that understand the terrain.
According to him, “the host communities are ready to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to end vandalisation of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region.”
He informed that there are powerful elements in Nigeria who own vessels and trucks used in bush-loading of crude oil illegally, that run into trillions of naira on a daily basis.
“You see, we need to rub minds with Mr President to curb illegal acts of oil theft running into several trillions, oil theft; and pipeline vandalisation.
“Those who are involved are not outsiders. Companies buying crude oil from Nigeria are to be held responsible. Who are the owners of vessels that shuttle between one nautical mile to fifty nautical miles on international waters?
“Who are the owners of trucks that are bush-loading crude oil in trillion tonnes everyday all over the Niger Delta? They are Nigeria big shots.”
He said his association is of the opinion that the federal government of Nigeria should give the protection of pipeline to the host communities.
“Allow the owners of oil communities to guard the critical equipment because if you let it loose, nobody would be held responsible. The 3% Petroleum Industry Act has come and the PIA said, communities should be held responsible when they are paid.”
Emuh noted that over 6,000 youths have been recruited and trained out of the 10,000 of them recommended by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, adding that the FG should award the surveillance contract to the host communities to enable them swing into action.
“Now, I have recruited over 6,000 youths. We thought about 10,000 from PAP and have registered our security company. We have trained our children on intelligence gathering and to be watchdog in the jetties and no contract has been given to us.
He pointed out that although the NSCDC are trained on pipeline surveilance, the outfit are ill-equipped and lacking technology to track oil thieves at a distance.
“Nigerian Police are not trained to watch pipeline; Nigerian Army are not trained to watch pipeline, Nigerian Airforce or Nigerian Navy are not. Security agents to be held responsible in terms of training are the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“The NSCDC don’t have modern equipment. They lack modern technology that could enable them see what is happening far away. I have made proposals to the Federal Government to award surveillance of pipelines to the host communities and hold us responsible.