Uche Usim, Abuja
Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has warned violators of pipeline Right of Way (RoW), who have repeatedly compromised its facilities by illegally building on them.
To address the challenge, the national oil company, via its downstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company (NPSC) has embarked on extensive consultation and enlightenment targeted at violators in affected communities, as that of the safety and wellbeing of the people remain paramount.
NNPC said after this step, the Army Engineering Corps commence immediate demolition of all identified illegal structures.
The main focal area is the System 2E oil pipeline network located along Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi corridor
It described the development as flagrant and dangerous violation of its pipeline right-of-way by some individuals.
According to the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, the infringement on the statutorily guaranteed 25-metre infrastructure was not only detrimental to the free flow of petroleum products but was far more harmful to dwellers of illegal structures and shanties due to the combustible nature of hydrocarbons.
The corporation noted the inseparable link between oil pipeline right-of-way-encroachment and incessant pipeline vandalism-cum-oil theft with has continually vandalised the economy.
According to the NNPC, the creation of the minimum 25-metre buffer for the pipeline is designed to allow for maintenance, repairs and replacements of pipelines as need may arise, while ensuring the security and safety of the facility.
The buffer also ensures that those living contiguous to the lines are shielded in cases of leakage, rupture or explosion.
The Corporation noted the first step towards eventual removal, such structures have been identified and clearly marked with notice of imminent removal served on affected occupants.
The Corporation noted that the essence of the red flag was to bring urgency to the situation along the PHC-Aba-Enugu-Markurdi line whose level of violation is about 75 per cent, stating that the position is intolerable with clear cases of individuals channeling products into private homes.