- Conversations on how to put an end to the destruction of pipelines, especially in the Niger Delta region, has officially commenced
- The initiative organised by the ministry of information and culture seeks to sensitize citizens on the need to see government property as theirs
- The idea of town hall meetings was conceived to bridge the gap between the federal government and the citizenry
FCT, Abuja - The federal government says it spends N60billion every year to repair and maintain vandalized oil pipelines in Nigeria.
The minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Monday, July 5 at the town hall meeting on protecting oil and gas infrastructure attended by a Legit.ng reporter in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The economic impact of such losses
The minister also revealed that Nigeria loses an average of 200,000 barrels per day to the wanton damage to pipelines and other oil and gas facilities.
‘‘Between January 2019 and September 2020, 1,161 pipeline points across the country were vandalized.’’
While underscoring the need to protect public infrastructure, Alhaji Mohammed stated that the Buhari-led administration has embarked on massive investment in infrastructure since coming into office, despite dwindling resources.
‘‘With far fewer resources, the administration has recorded more infrastructural development than was achieved in all the 16 years of the previous administration.
‘‘As this government strives to bridge our nation’s infrastructural deficit, we must do everything in our power to stop the wanton destruction of public infrastructure.
‘‘Please remember that public infrastructure is at the very core of economic growth and national development.
‘‘Therefore, some unpatriotic Nigerians' destruction of public infrastructure calls for great concern and immediate action, hence our decision to organize this town hall meeting series.’’
NNPC provides more inside details
In his presentation at the event, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari said the corporation lost about N51.207 billion between 2019 to May 2021.
He also listed the consequences of pipeline vandalism and they are;
1. Environmental damage
2. Huge production losses
3. Cost of operations
4. Human and property damage
He noted that pipeline vandalism has an impact on piracy in terms of losses of human and valuable property and losses of government revenue and funding.
Also speaking, the minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio said vandalising oil installations poses a greater danger to the Niger Delta region considering recent research findings.
Quoting the research conducted on the impact of pipeline vandalism in the oil region, Akpabio said about 16,000 young people between the ages of 1-15 die yearly as a result of the vandalism.
He said some vandals disguise as agitators to destroy government installations, stressing that a reorientation program is needed in the Niger Delta to let the youths know that they are destroying their own property and not government property.
He said the reorientation programmes should target young Niger Deltans from 8 to 18 years, adding that amnesty won't last forever, hence the need to start targeting teenagers in the region to educate them on the dangers of vandalism.
On his part, the minister of environment, Muhammad Mahmood delivered a presentation at the meeting on protecting oil and gas infrastructure
There were also goodwill messages, suggestions and comments from federal legislators, monarchs and captains of industries who attended the event.
The ministry of information and culture also shared photos from the event on its official Facebook page.
The event was streamed live on various national broadcasting stations for the audience at home to participate and make inputs.
Recall that a similar town hall meeting organised by the ministry of information and culture was held on Monday, June 7.
The previous town hall meeting was with a specific focus on protecting public infrastructures.
It was attended by the minister of works and housing; Babatunde Fashola, minister of transportation; Chibuike Amaechi, minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika and the FCT minister, Mohammed Bello.
In a related development, the APC Legacy Awareness & Campaign (APC-LAC), has declared that the Buhari-led administration committed more resources to infrastructure than any other administration in Nigeria since 1999.
The administrations before President Muhammadu Buhari include former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
In its weekly reports of Buhari's legacies through a statement sent to Legit.ng on Monday, June 7, the APC-LAC said more road and rail infrastructure are being built and or completed since Buhari assumed office in 2015 than in the sixteen years between 1999 and 2015.