The Lagos State Government has called on residents of the State and environs to be more vigilant in the protection of petroleum pipelines and ensure that any suspicious move or attempt to vandalise the pipelines are promptly reported to the government and other relevant authorities.
This call emanated from a Stakeholders Forum/Public Enlightenment session organised by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources for Oil & Gas Pipeline Hosting Communities in Ejigbo, Egbe-Idimu, Alimosho and Oshodi-Isolo LCDAs of the State.
Addressing participants at the Stakeholders’ Forum with the theme: “Preventing Recurring Explosions and Vandalism on Petroleum Products Pipeline in Lagos State”, the Head of Oil and Gas Department of the Ministry, Engr. Sesan Odukoya said that the intention of the State Government is to reduce to the barest minimum the occurrence of gas line explosions and eradicate fire outbreaks from pipeline vandalisation.
The Director, who lamented the number of avoidable loss of lives and properties that had been lost to the illegal activities of pipeline vandals, said that the stakeholders’ engagement is one of the avenues being explored by the Ministry to nip the occurrence in the bud.
He expressed optimism that the enlightenment session will assist in raising the consciousness of residents of the areas to the associated risks that might emanate from pipelines carrying petroleum products if adequate care and safety measures are not put in place.
On his part, a Deputy Director with Oil and Gas Department, Engr. Ayodele Antonio, stated that man-made actions are majorly responsible for the explosion of pipelines, stressing that it is impossible for the pipelines to burst on their own without human activities and interferences.
He promised that the Government will prevail on NNPC, NSPC and any other affected organisation to ensure periodic maintenance and effective functionality of the pipelines.
“We want NNPC, NSPC and other relevant authorities to live up to their responsibilities by ensuring constant maintenance and replacement of damaged pipelines. This, they can do, by regularly monitoring the integrity of the pipelines across the State against erosion and corrosion”, Anthonio stated.
He advised residents of Ejigbo, Egbe-Idimu, Alimosho and Oshodi-Isolo LCDA and environs to ensure they observe the stipulated Right of Ways from the locations of pipelines in order to reduce loss of lives and properties that may arise from pipeline explosion.
While speaking on needed safety around petroleum products pipeline locations, a Director with the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Festus Todowede, identified scarcity of petroleum products and the high cost of repairing vandalised pipelines, damage to public infrastructure apart from the loss of lives and properties as other effects and aftermath of pipeline vandalisation.
He also urged all Lagosians to always embrace wide consultation and thorough findings before embarking on erecting structures in any part of the State by liaising with the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development or Lagos State Building Control Agency and Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority for professional advice.
Some of the participants at the event pleaded with the State Government to ensure that there is a prompt response whenever an alarm is raised about the activities of vandals, just as they also want their identities protected by the government.
The stakeholders’ forum was attended by some Government officials, CDCs, CDAs, market men and women, traditional rulers, youth representatives, and representatives of NNPC and NPSC among other concerned stakeholders.