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Prioritise Niger Delta’s development to check vandalism, don tells government, oil firms

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PHOTO:AFP

PHOTO:AFP

To halt pipeline vandalism and bunkering in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government and oil companies have been advised to prioritise the development of the oil-rich region.

Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Law, University of Lagos, Dr. Oludayo Amokaye, gave the advice in paper titled “Economic and Environmental Impact of Pipeline Vandalism in Nigeria” and delivered at the fifth Oil Spill Conference Nigeria and Exhibition in Lagos.

Amokaye, who attributed most of criminal activities in the area to years of neglect by the Federal Government, maintained that oil majors also limited efforts to only token social responsibility projects, failing to undertake crucial developmental initiatives to uplift the people of the region.

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He noted that oil pipeline vandalism and bunkering had become dominant, fuelling criminality and conflicts with accompanying population displacement and social disintegration of communities.

Amokaye traced the root causes of vandalism to poverty, unemployment, emergence of oil barons, defective security apparatus, government’s negligence, weak legal framework, sabotage and corrosion owing to ageing pipelines.

The university don observed that criminality was not a win-win situation for people of the region as the disruption and destruction of energy infrastructure would result in downsizing of work force and rebuilding of the facilities.

He regretted that funds that could have deployed to other productive endeavours are now to be used for clean-up exercises in the area.Amokaiye, therefore, enjoined the militants to sheathe their sword in the interest of the nation’s economy and the health of the people of the region.


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