The Federal Government has said that it spends N60 billion to repair and maintain vandalized oil and gas pipelines annually.
This is as it has pointed out the negative impact of the damaged pipelines on the nation’s revenue and the various environmental problems that it causes.
This was made known by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a Town Hall Meeting on Protecting Oil and Gas Infrastructure on Monday in Abuja.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mohammed said that an average of 200,000 barrels was lost daily to the activities of pipeline vandals who cause a lot of damage to them.
The event also had the Ministers of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as well as Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva represented by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mela Kyari, as part of the panellists.
What the Minister of Information and Culture is saying
Mohammed said, “Apart from the impact on the nation’s earnings, consider also the environmental problems caused by the incessant vandalism, in terms of freshwater pollution, air pollution, soil pollution etc., you will appreciate the enormity of the problem.’’
He said with oil providing 80% of Nigeria’s budgetary revenues and 95% of foreign exchange earnings, the impact of the incessant destruction of oil pipelines on the economy is quite enormous.
He said, “To have railway tracks subjected to wanton destruction, bridge railings removed, manhole covers pilfered is antithetical to development. Having street lights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities and critical aviation infrastructure damaged or stolen do not augur well for our growth and development.’’
“It is common knowledge that Nigeria has long suffered massive infrastructure deficit due to decades of neglect, population explosion and the absence of maintenance culture. But since coming into office in 2015, the Muhammadu Buhari Administration has embarked on a rapid economic growth with equity.
“The administration has equally prioritised human capital development through enhanced social services and infrastructure development. Inspite a drastic drop in revenues and competing priorities, especially that of tackling insecurity, the administration has invested heavily in providing new infrastructure, in addition to reconstructing and rehabilitating existing ones.’’
The minister said the town hall meeting was organised to create public awareness that government property is indeed citizens’ property and so should be protected for the benefit of all.
This is in addition to sensitizing host communities to be conscious of the benefits of protecting public infrastructures and exposing all those who engage in buying pilfered infrastructure items along with those who bring such to them to sell.
What you should know
- Reports have revealed that between January 2019 and September 2020, about 1,161 pipeline points were vandalized across the country.
- It can be recalled that the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), had last month disclosed that Nigeria lost N851.84 billion ($2.78 billion) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019.
- The agency stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$.
- It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21% from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.