The Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN), an NGO, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to provide surveillance equipment to security personnel to tackle pipeline vandalism.
The NGO’s Director, Imemo Samiama made the call in Abuja in an interview with newsmen.
He said, “If the oil companies, government and the international donors can provide surveillance equipment, it will go a long way to tackle pipeline vandalism and oil theft.”
He advocated sustained enlightenment programmes to make the populace accustomed with the dangers of oil theft and illegal bunkering.
“By educating the host communities, they will now be aware of the devastating effects of illegal oil bunkering on the economy and development of our nation.
“The sensitisation programmes will make the public to realise that they have a major role to play in reducing the scourge on the society.
“The extensive enlightenment programmes in the host communities where these pipelines pass through will make them know the dangers and encourage them to reporting cases of pipeline vandalism to security agents.
“In any region where crude oil theft is prevalent, it reduces the healthy growth of such forest to mere grasses, while fish and other aquatic animals are on the verge of extinction.
“Pipeline vandalism brought high cost of operation, loss of revenue to the nation and disruption of product distribution, causing fuel scarcity.
“All I know and keep on saying is that, it is not a crime committed ordinarily by poor people; it is a crime committed by an organised people,” he said.
Samiama opined that illegal oil bunkering was causing the nation a heavy sum of money to repair vandalised equipment.
He said the money that was supposed to be used for improving the economy to benefit citizens was being channeled toward repairing and replacing vandalised items.
He advised that oil companies should be more effective and thorough in the monitoring of pipelines to ensure that vandalism became a thing of the past.
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