Hon. Franklin Otele, the Special Adviser on Oil & Gas to the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri has declared that the introduction of pipeline surveillance by the federal government as a strategy to end pipeline vandalism and oil theft has help to boost the economy of state governments in the country, especially Bayelsa State.
Speaking recently with newsmmen in Port Harcourt, he stated that with operations of pipeline surveillance contractors like Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd, PINL, the menace of oil theft and illegal bunkering which threatened Nigeria’s economy have drastically reduced the incident and seen crude oil delivery through pipelines rising from the almost 3 percent to above 90 per cent.
Hon. Otele added that oil pollution and its attendant degradation of environment have also been reasonably stemmed, thus boosting fishing and farming which were gravely endangered at the peak of the nefarious activities of pipeline vandals and oil thieves.
He said; “I want to thank the federal government for the initiative of engaging pipeline surveillance contractors such as Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd PINL, which is presently in Bayelsa State.
“As a government person, I want to talk in respect of the operations in Bayelsa state because we interface with the communities, International Oil Companies, IOCs and the contractors; and illegal refinery or what we call kpo fire is not a strange activity in the Niger Delta. But since the inception of the contractors in Bayelsa, we have started to receive good results.
Before now, pipeline vandalism was like a daily occurrence. Today it’s here, tomorrow it’s another place. But they came and engaged the community. They spoke with government and they enlightened the people about the consequences of these activities (pipeline vandalism and oil theft (kpo fire).
He noted that before the coming of the pipeline surveillance contractors, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining was rampant across many states including Bayelsa.
“Before now, pipeline vandalism was like a daily occurrence. Today it’s here, tomorrow it’s another place. But they came and engaged the community. They spoke with government and first they enlightened the people about the consequences of these activities (pipeline vandalism and oil theft (kpo fire).
He added that as consequences; “once there is vandalism there’s shortage of crude oil supply, shortage of production and when there’s shortage like this, first the state government revenue will drop. It’s going to affect the monthly revenue. That’s from the state government aspect.
Also, at the community level, there was a lot of consequences for the environment. You know Bayelsa State predominantly, our occupation is fishing and farming and where there are pollutions here and there, one, it will kill all the fishes around. Two, it will destroy the farmland and besides that, recently we see some fire outbreaks where lives were lost, especially in Rivers and Imo states.
He commended Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd, PINL for its key strategy of community engagement and employment of youths noting that the company had engaged so many of youths in various communities.
“And recently, they have some programmes such as medical outreach to the communities they are operating. I know that during the last flood in Bayelsa they distributed some items to the communities. So I commend them.”
Hon. Otele also commended the federal government for the policy and urged for the extension of the contract as well as widening the scope of the job for the contractors, most especially, that of Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd PINL. “They have done well in Bayelsa state”, he stressed.
He advised the youths to shun violence and pipeline vandalism saying; “On behalf of the state government, we wish to plead with the youths of Bayelsa State that they should tow the path of government, which are peace and prosperity. They should not be misled by criminals, they should be serious with the government, the government has done its best by providing enabling environment for citizens and people who are coming to do business in the state”.