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Nigeria Needs The Entire Army To Safeguard Oil Facilities-JTF

JTF: Nigeria needs entire army to man oil facilities

Nigeria needs an entire army to man its oil and gas assets, Commanding Officer of the 3 Battalion, Effurun, Lt Col Igwe Omoke, has said.

Lt.-Col. Omoke spoke when members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Gas Resources visited the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), in Warri, at the weekend.

He said the criminal justice system was an obstacle to efforts to protect critical national assets.

Lt.-Col Omoke, who took the lawmakers, led by the committee’s Chairman, Fredrick Agbedi, on a tour of the devastated Egwa 1 gas pipeline in Warri South West, said communities must guard oil facilities.

He said: “I think the issue is to find a holistic approach to dealing with this kind of situation and I am sure that your presence here is to kickstart the process of dealing holistically with this problem. When the incident happened, I dashed to Egwa 1. One thing that struck me was how can such a critical infrastructure not be manned? When we say we can do more, I think that is where it comes to play.

“It is vast; we are just talking about NGC, we have the SPDC, we have the Chevron, we have the Agip, so many of them with their pipelines crisscrossing the entire Niger Delta. So I want to say, Sir, that it will take an army, not a division, to man these pipelines. We also take care of other things.

“I can tell you that in the last one week I have received about 21 petitions, notifying the multinational companies of their intentions, I mean the communities writing to me, copying me their letters to the multinational oil companies, telling me their intentions to stop the activities of the multinational companies, as either not to pump crude or to stop their workers from coming to work, because of allegations, ranging from their inability to meet up with their GMOU to other things.

“When you say we should man those places, I think the army is doing its best. Immediately that thing happened, the first thing I did was to locate other critical areas, vulnerable points and man them. I asked the multinational companies to tell me other places , such as Egwa 1 Manifold that is not manned so that I can place my soldiers and that was what we did. You will recall that from then till now, we have not recorded any subsequent one, especially in those critical areas.”

The committee condemned the recent destruction of oil and gas facilities in the creeks of Delta State, describing it as criminal and unacceptable.

Agbedi, who spoke on behalf of the committee, urged the NGC to table its constraints, especially in the area of vandalism, promising to help the company in solving its problems.

The Managing Director of the NGC, Babatunde Bakare, lamented the constant destruction of the company’s pipeline, describing it as a major challenge, to which the nation recently lost  some 500 million mcf.

(The Nation)

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