Illegal pipelines are linked to churches, mosques—NNPC

.. promises to stop importation of fuel products by next year June

Abuja—The Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, (NNPC) Limited, Melee Kyari, on Tuesday, said some illegal petroleum products piplelines has a link to churches and mosques, according to reports by Vanguard.

He also said the shutting down of pipelines in the country was deliberate.

Kyari added that the reason for shutting down the refineries include the challenge of not operating as a business, thereby making them to incur loses.

Speaking when he featured at the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the State House, Kyari noted that the authorities of the NNPC borrowed one billion US dollars from the AFREXIM Bank to put in place the refineries.

He added that the management of the company was confident that it was restoring the company for about 90 percent efficiency.

He further noted that the repayment of the borrowed money was tied to the productivity of the refineries, boasting that NNPC would deliver on the rehabilitation exercise.

He also assured that there would not be any importation of petroleum products by the middle of next year.

While lamenting on the level of loses on the nation’s pipelines, he said that the nefarious business of pipeline vandals cuts across different regions and religious organisations where the pipelines pass through.

According to Kyari, some of the pipelines are illegally connected around Churches and Mosques.

The CEO said that the NNPC management is building National Reserve Company.

Maintaining that the issue of crude oil theft is real and happening, he said the company was not helpless as its efforts were paying off.

He said 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 Defence Staff, they were able to intervene.

He said so far, 30 Speed Boats, 179 Wooden Boats, 37 trucks have been impounded, but that the authorities have taken the decision not to arrest any longer but to burn such confiscated products.

Besides, he said, 122 persons comprising highly placed individuals have been arrested between April and August and that some of them have been handed over to the Econonic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

He said 739 ovens for the illegal crude oil theft have been discovered and some destroyed, 344 reservoir created and 355 cooking pots also discovered, stressing that the level of the illegal business was enormous.

“It simply means destruction of environment. We have lost revenue,” he declared.

On the alleged contract to the former Niger Delta agitator, Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo, the NNPC CEO said that the contract was not awarded to Tompolo as a person, but a company he has interest in.

He explained that it was not the first time that individuals within the Niger Delta region were awarded a contract for pipeline surveillance, noting that the contract was for the interest of the people.

He said it was his belief that the Federal Government has taken the right 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.”

According to earlier reports, one of those selected is a former Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, predominantly referred to as Tompolo.

Fielding further questions on the contract, Kyari explained that although the Federal Government is not dealing directly with the former creek warlord, it has signed a contract with a company in which Tompolo has interests.

“We have taken the right decision,” he said.

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