Ben Dunno, Warri
The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) has urged indigenes of its host communities to refrain from being lured into the criminal act of sabotage, particularly pipeline vandalism, as it does not only pollute the environment but also negatively affects healthy living and destroys their aquatic lives.
Making the appeal at the flag-off of its sensitisation campaign against gas pipeline encroachment and vandalism at Ajaokuta Council area of Kogi State, yesterday, NGC noted that it was in the best interest of the communities to protect their environment from such dangerous health hazards that come with the crime.
Addressing the people of Eganyi Community at the Palace of the Ohi of Eganyi kingdom, the company’s Managing Director, Warri, Delta State, Engr Seyi Omotowa, disclosed that encroachment of gas pipelines can lead to huge loses of lives and property, especially that of the innocent indigenes.
The Managing Director who was represented at the occasion by the Public Affairs Manager of NGC, Mr Darlington Samuel, warned that encroachment of gas pipelines was not only dangerous crime to the society but also an act punishable by the laws of the land.
He further admonished those who are farming and building houses on gas pipelines’ right of way to desist from such acts, saying could lead to a more devastating disaster in the community when it was least expected by anyone.
According to Omotowa, ‘We are here to inform and enlighten the people of Ajaokuta about the dangers involved in encroaching on gas pipelines right of way.
‘As a Federal Government, we want to ensure that our property and your property is secured. We also want to ensure that your lives are not put in danger.
‘We all know that this is a Federal Government project and this is why we have come to tell these communities that little action and inaction can lead to disaster and lose of lives.
‘If there is a little gas leak in any of the gas pipelines and we have a little spark of fire around that area, the whole place will be on fire. This is what we are trying to avoid.’
Responding, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Musa Idaho Achuja, the Ohi of Eganyi and Chairman Traditional Council of Ajaokuta, commended NGC for the enlightenment campaign saying that it was a good thing that NGC has taken the pains to come to enlighten the community.
He said, ‘I want to use this opportunity to thank the Federal Government, especially the Nigerian Gas Company because NGC is one of the government companies that we have benefitted from greatly.
‘We are happy with the sensitisation campaign that they (NGC) have brought to this community and we on our part will make sure that we carry this campaign to all our communities.’
The monarch advised his subjects to take the sensitisation campaign seriously, adding that the Federal Government does not want anybody to die because of the project they have here.
On his part, the youths President of Ajaokuta, Shaibu Ayimi, also commended NGC for taking out time to explain to the people on the need for them not to encroach on gas pipelines’ right of way.
He promised to carry the enlightenment campaign to all the nooks and crannies of Ajaokuta so that the people will know the dangers inherent in gas pipeline encroachment.
He said, ‘I want to thank NGC for this enlightenment campaign because most of our people live in rural communities and they don’t know that farming and building on gas pipelines’ right of way is very dangerous.’
The campaign train also hit Ohunene community, Ajaokuta, where one of the community leaders, Alhaji Suleiman Sheid, relayed the message of NGC to his people in their dialect.