The President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, November 12; said officials of government conniving with criminals involved in vandalising oil pipelines should be prosecuted, if identified.
Lawan stated this in his remarks after the consideration of the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Pipeline Explosions during plenary.
Accordingly, Lawan mandated the Senate Committee on Petroleum (downstream) to invite the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); with a view to ensuring a review of security measures for pipelines in parts of the country.
The president of the Senate also said the National Assembly would amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act; to prevent the activities of pipeline vandals that lead to explosions and deaths.
He said: “Our Committee on Petroleum (downstream) should invite the NNPC with a view to know what they have been doing over the years to secure the pipelines; what measures are in place and whether there is need to review these agreements.
“This is a multi-billion dollar industry, people consciously do these things, and it’s not an accident.
“Those who are caught in the fires or who come to scavenge are the ones who end up losing their lives; this is not acceptable.
“There must be sanctions, somebody will have to pay the price and of course; after these resolutions are sent to the executive, our committee must follow it up.
“When we have to amend the NOSDRA Act, this is something that we have to do expeditiously.
“We should do it because it will help in preventing or minimising the reoccurrence of these criminal acts.”
Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun), accused the NNPC of conniving with vandals to sabotage the economy; by encouraging the activities of oil pipeline vandals.
“This is not an act of negligence but connivance. The NNPC knows what to do and cannot claim ignorance. The NNPC knows from their office when a pipeline is vandalised.
“I want to support my colleagues that they should be punished.”
The Senate, after consideration of the report on pipeline explosions; adopted all 16 recommendations by the Ad-Hoc Committee.
The upper chamber also recommended that NNPC involve members of host communities in pipeline surveillance within their various areas as an interim preventive measure.
The Senate further recommended the deployment of modern technology in pipeline surveillance; and detection of leakages as well as the introduction of “cathodic prevention of the pipelines.