Saturday, 5 September 2015

NNPC, Security Agents Aid Arepo Oil Thieves

The leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and security agencies entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the nation’s pipeline has been accused of turning a blind eye as hoodlums help themselves to the nation’s oil at Arepo, a community in Ogun State. A group of criminals have vandalized the NNPC pipeline that pumps imported petroleum products from the Atlas Cove in Lagos, to Mosimi Depot, Sagamu, Ogun State. The depot in Mosimi plays the crucial responsibility of distributing refined petroleum products to the cities of the South-West. It was gathered that the hoodlums had vandalized the pipeline in the creeks of Arepo in such a way that whenever the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the NNPC pumped refined products, they (the hoodlums) would also get it from the broken portions of the pipeline in the creeks. There are yet to be verified reports of complicity between the criminals, some security operatives and even officials of the PPMC in the thriving criminality against Nigeria.

It was gathered that PPMC officials aided the vandals with privileged information regarding the time the products would be pumped. Investigations revealed that the PPMC pump fuel from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Mosimi twice every week. It was also learnt that the NNPC could not stop the pumping of the products even with a consciousness of the perforations on the critical national asset because doing such could lead to petroleum scarcity. An oil worker, who confided in one of our correspondents, said the NNPC might have been frustrated after the killing of three of its workers at Arepo in 2012. The source said the criminals, perpetrating the action, might have become emboldened by the alleged connivance of the security personnel. Last week, the vandals shot and killed four policemen for arresting four petroleum tankers that were used to perpetrate the crime. The source said, “You can’t imagine that this is happening in Nigeria. This cannot be allowed to happen in any civilized clime. “We are in a country where the new government is talking about recovering stolen funds yet we allow a set of hoodlums to run riot against the country’s economy. “You know what those vandals at Arepo are doing, they went to the creek, vandalized the pipeline that pumps fuel from Atlas cove to Mosimi so that whenever the PPMC pumps fuel, they are also getting it. It would be pouring like a running tap in such a way that whenever they are done with collection, they simply allow the fuel to fall into the creek. “And because the level of fuel in the creek has become very high, the fuel has risen to knee level. What some of them do is to use plastic buckets to scoop the fuel which they supply to buyers who get it from them at a ridiculously low price. “In fact, if not for the issue of conspiracy, how come that the security personnel have not tracked down the tankers, the drivers and the owners to stop this crime? If the vandals are hiding in the creeks, are they beyond the reach of Nigeria and are the tankers also hiding in the creeks?” However, the source could not put a figure to the amount of money being lost by the country to the brazen criminality being committed against the country by the hoodlums over the years. When contacted, the NNPC debunked statements that products especially Premium Motor Spirit pumped from Atlas Cove to Mosimi was leaking in Arepo, stressing that PPMC officials had not been found culpable for the leaks. The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, told one of our correspondents that after extensive investigations, it was discovered that it was not true. In a text message to one of our correspondents, Alagbe said, “It is not true. It was investigated extensively on Thursday when you initially sent the text. PPMC personnel that are on the ground in Arepo to Mosimi axis said there was no truth to the claim. ”The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Okeh, also denied that the corps personnel were colluding with saboteurs at Arepo, noting that the operatives had come under attacks in the area many times over their “uncompromising stand” against vandalism.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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