The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its midstream operator, Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) have explained that the oil spill reported in the Ijegun area in Lagos was caused by pipeline vandals who hacked a product pipeline in the area.
In a statement released Tuesday, in Abuja on the oil spill, Acting Group General Manager Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim stated that the Ijegun area had always been very notorious for the activities of oil thieves who have over the years been nootorious for hacking into pipelines with the aim of stealing products.
“We wish to acknowledge oil spill from our pipeline at the Ijegun area in Lagos and to state that the unfortunate incident is a result of pipeline sabotage by people suspected to be oil thieves.
“Lately, we have been experiencing a rise in the incidents of pipeline vandalism on the Ijegun section of our pipeline and doing our best to fix them as soon as they are noticed. In this month alone, we have located and fixed 73 ruptured points on that Mosimi–Ijegun–Atlas Cove line,” the statement said.
Also speaking on the spill, PPMC spokesperson, Nasir Imodagbe, condemned the development, adding that vandalism was a criminal act that should be fought by all Nigerians.
He therefore called on members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement around pipelines to the law enforcement agencies.
“When incidents like this occur, they lead to disruption in the petroleum products supply system and cause hardship for the ordinary hardworking citizens.
“They have long-lasting devastating effects on the environment which could affect future generations,” Imodagbe said.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said the pipeline, which was oozing “flood-like fuel,” ruptured on Saturday.
The agency did not give details of what caused the rupture but added that the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had commenced clean up exercise since Monday.
Community leaders in the area, it was gathered, prevented the scooping of fuel by residents before alerting NEMA and the NNPC.
According to Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesman for NEMA, the pipelines’ right of way in the community had been encroached upon.
“All signposts indicating dangers have been removed by the landowners thereby posing risks to people especially adventurous children,” he said.