NNPC lauds vandalism campaign as Navy arrests alleged notorious vandal
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that the campaign against oil pipeline vandalism is becoming successful as the Nigerian Navy yesterday arrested an alleged notorious pipeline vandal identified as Mr. Shuaibu Ogunmola.
According to the NNPC, the alleged notorious oil pipeline kingpin, whose illegal activities over the years led to loss of millions of litres of products along the Lagos Atlas Cove strip in the strategic System 2B pipeline network, was captured at his luxury hotel in Ilashe community along the Badagry Creek.
The corporation said the supposed vandal was captured by officers and men of Operation AWATSE, a joint military task force on oil theft and pipeline vandalism anchored by the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said investigations thus far revealed that Shuaibu had operated a thriving oil theft racket for decades, hacking pipelines in some island communities in Amuwo-Odofin Local Council of Lagos State along the System 2B network Right-of-Way (RoW).
He said the gang executed their illegal trade by digging holes metres away from the corporation’s products pipeline, which essentially serve as storage tanks for products directly siphoned from the lines at a hack point.
“These holes, which are cast in drums, receive products simultaneously from the labyrinth of pipelines connected to the trunk line directly linked to the ruptured NNPC line.
“The products so harvested are later scooped or transferred into jerry-cans and drums and are sold to ready buyers who usually throng the beachside,” he stated.
Ughamadu said that the products were being shipped to Cotonou.
Also, Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak, who also doubles as the Commander of Operation AWATSE, said the feat was the beginning of a well mapped-out strategy to halt the menace of pipeline vandals.
He said Shuaibu was the ultimate godfather of oil thieves in Ilashe and adjoining settlements where he consigned portions of his territory and offered operating rights to other thieves to operate and bring in returns at agreed rates and terms.
Besides, he said investigation revealed that the Ilashe pipeline axis was divided into three ‘oil fields’ by the criminals under the operating titles of Shuaibu Point, Dele Point and Bashiru Point.
Meanwhile, Team Lead (Research and Policy), Nextier SPD, Dr. Ndubuisi Nwokolo, said cases of pipeline vandalism in Nigeria would continue unless the issues driving the development, which include either grievance or greed, are tackled.
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