Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Sunday cautioned against what it termed ‘’flagrant and dangerous’’ violation of its pipeline right-of-way by some individuals and communities along the corridor of the system 2E pipeline network stretching from Port Harcourt, Aba, Enugu to Makurdi.
The corporation, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, said the infringement on the statutorily guaranteed 25-metre setback for the infrastructure was not only detrimental to the free flow of petroleum products but was far more harmful to dwellers of illegal structures and shanties due to the combustible nature of hydrocarbon.
NNPC noted that the inseparable link between the cases of oil pipeline right-of-way-encroachment and incessant pipeline vandalism cum oil theft will have attendant negative effect on the economy.
According to the statement, the creation of the minimum 25-metre buffer for the pipeline is designed to allow for maintenance, repairs and replacements of pipelines as the need may arise while ensuring the security and safety of the facility.
The buffer also ensures that those living contiguous to the lines are shielded in cases of leakage, rupture or explosion.
The corporation noted that as the first step towards eventual removal of such structures by the team of Army Engineering Corps, its downstream subsidiary, Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company (NPSC), embarked on extensive consultation and enlightenment exercise targeted at violators in the affected communities, noting that the safety and wellbeing of the people remain paramount.
The NNPC said that based on penetrating reconnaissance executed by the Army engineers stretching from Ogale to Eleme community in Port Harcourt-Aba axis to Otade community in Enugu-Makurdi leg, structures in violation of the pipeline safety corridor have been identified and clearly marked with notice of imminent removal served on the affected occupants.
It noted that the essence of the red flag was to bring urgency to the situation along the Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Markurdi line whose level of violation is about 75 per cent, adding that the position is intolerable with clear cases of individuals channeling products into private homes.
“Such incidents are not only crystal clear cases of economic sabotage but poses unimaginable danger to the entire neighbourhood,’’ NNPC stated.
Before now, the national oil company in concert with the Army Engineering Corps executed successful clearance of the system 2B pipeline ROW from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ibadan.