Pipeline vandalism cost Nigeria $14bn in 2014
The inability of the federal government to properly police oil pipelines has resulted in vandalism by communities and groups that cost Nigeria $14 billion in 2014.
A civil society organization, Stakeholder Democratic Network (SDN), said that apart from the loss, pipeline vandalism impacted over 51.500 hectares of land in 2014.
The organization, at a research validation roundtable on pipeline vandalism and decommissioning of redundant oil and gas installations in Nigeria, noted that the situation would have been avoided if government and oil companies had taken proactive measures.
“Nigeria’s oil industry holds 12,714km of oil, gas and refined product pipelines to facilitate petroleum extraction and transportation across the country. The Niger Delta, the source of Nigeria’s oil wealth, has the highest incidences of pipeline vandalism in the country. Deep feelings of anger, resentment and hopelessness run through communities as their demand for development and basic services from the proceeds of oil has never materialised,” the group added.
The organisation said that enormous sums of money are earned from illicit trade of stolen oil, often settled through cash and arm deals, fuelling a cold war between entrenched actors and the state.
A call was made to the federal government to review and reset the relationships between government, oilcompanies and communities as a first step to tackle pipeline vandalism, to maintain oil production and reinforce peace in the Niger Delta.
“The new administration must act quickly to address rising agitation and the impact of reduced patronage flows that inflame feelings of anger, resentment and hopelessness, with various heavily armed and well-resourced individuals and groups threatening the security of the oil industry and national income,” the SDN said.
Inemo Samiama, SDN country director, bemoaned that the environmental damages pipeline vandalism has done in the Niger Delta was immense as most communities do not fully understand the implication.