Uche Usim, Abuja
Plans to resume the full-scale hunt for hydrocarbon deposits in the Chad basin, Gongola and Benue trough are being fine-tuned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the military.
The collaboration is to guarantee sufficient military support for the protection of NNPC’s workforce and high-tech equipment.
The Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mele Kyari, made the disclosure when he led top management of the NNPC on a visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, at his office in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the security challenges in the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue Trough, had robbed the NNPC the chance to mobilise fully to those areas of its important operations.
He stressed: “I’m visiting the Chief of Defence Staff as my first port of call following my appointment to seek the support of the Armed Forces to help the NNPC in re-entering the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue trough to enable us carry out our mandate for national development. Your support in terms of providing full security for staff and equipment is critical to us.”
He added that the corporation equally required the military to intensify efforts in the protection of NNPC’s pipelines and Right of Way (RoW) across the nook and cranny of Nigeria.
Kyari stated that the NNPC was seriously challenged due to the nefarious activities of pipeline vandals, petroleum products thieves and other economic saboteurs that breach the operations of the corporation in various parts of the country.
The GMD recounted the significance of NNPC’s contributions to the national economy, saying corporation’s synergy with the Military was critical to the wellbeing of the nation’s economic lifeline.
Responding, the CDS, General Olonisakin, described the NNPC as a strategic corporation that would be given full military support to enable it to deliver on its mandate to the Nigerian people.
“It is imperative for the Armed Forces and the NNPC to collaborate and synergise for the benefit of the country going by their various strategic roles to the nation. The Armed Forces operations, code-named: Operation Wase and Operations Delta Safe, along with other operations, were geared towards protecting pipelines and various oil and gas facilities,” General Olanisakin averred.
He said the military and the NNPC had been working together and the visit of the GMD would further bolster the various operations to secure the oil and gas installations, adding that the Military had devised several strategies to stem the tide of pipeline breaches in the country.