Mele Kyari, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), has reportedly accused churches, mosques, security agencies as well as communities of involvement in pipeline vandalism and oil thefti.
Kyari made the allegation on Tuesday during the 49th Session of State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team.
He, described as ‘right one’, the decision to engaged private entities including a company linked to Niger Delta militant warlord, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo to guard the nation’s network of pipelines.
According to Kyari: “As you may also be aware because of the very unfortunate acts of vandals along our major pipelines from Atlas Cove all the to Ibadan, and all others connecting all the 37 depots that we have across the country. You know, none of them can take delivery of products today.
“And the reason is very simple. For some of the lines, for instance, from Warri to Benin, we haven’t operated that line for 15 years. Every molecule of product that we put get lost. And of course you remember the sad incident of the fire incident very close to Warri, close to Sapele that killed so many people.
“So, we had to shut it down and as we speak, ladies and gentlemen, the level of losses that we have on our product pipeline, and I’m sure you may have seen it and I’ll invite you at the right time so we can take a look at it jointly.
“You remember that Lagos area. When a fire outbreak happened in one of our pipelines, we discovered that some of the pipelines were actually connected to individuals homes. And not only that, and with all sensitivity to our religious believes, you know, some of the pipelines and some of the products that we found, are actually in churches and in mosques.
“That means that everybody is involved. There is no way you will take products, bring in trucks in populated neighborhoods, load it and leave without everybody else knowing about it. That everybody includes members of the community, members of the religious leadership and most likely government officials of all natures, including security agencies personnel. They are everywhere. And I’ve seen this even in the Niger Delta. There’s no way you would deliver a volume and lose unto 30 percent and you will continue to put that products in this line.”
Kyari said that the NNPCL management is building National Reserve Company, adding that 295 illegal connections were discovered in one line in less than 200 meters, and that the company with the help of the security agencies and the directive of the Chief of Defense Staff, they were able to intervene.
Kyari said so far, 30 Speed Boats, 179 Wooden Boats, 37 trucks have been arrested, adding that a decision have been taken not to arrest any longer but to burn such confiscated producers.
The NNPCL boss, added that 122 persons comprising highly placed individuals have been arrested between April and August and that some of them have been handed over to the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
He said 739 Ovens for the illegal crude oil theft have been discovered and some destroyed, stating that also discovered were 344 reservoir created and 355 Cooking Pots, stressing that the level of the illegal business was enormous.
“It simply means destruction of environment. We have lost revenue,” he declared.
On decision to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network nationwide, Kyari, argued that although the security agencies are doing their part, end-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.
He said “We need private contractors to man the right of way to these pipelines. So we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision.”
Fielding further questions on the contract, Kyari explained that although the FG is not dealing directly with the former warlord, it has signed a contract with a company in which Tompolo has interests.
Kyari also disclosed that the leadership of the NNPC have also borrowed $1 billion from the AFREXIM Bank to put fix the country’s refineries, which will result in 90 percent efficiency.
According to him, the lenders conditions for giving out the loan is tied to the productivity of the refineries for them to recoup their money, boasting that NNPC would deliver on the rehabilitation exercise.
He said that with the development, there would not be any importation of petroleum products by the middle of next year.