Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Ibadan | 11 May 2013 | 4,039 times
The Humanitarian and Refugees Studies Student Association (HURESSA) of the University of Ibadan (UI), South-West Nigeria, has moved to contribute its quota towards checking the scourge of pipeline vandalism in the country.
Eager to help find a solution to the scourge, HURESSA, working under the aegis of the UI Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CEPACS), organised a symposium on ‘Pipeline Vandalism: Threat to Humanity’, at the UI Conference Centre Main Hall.
Opening the one-day symposium on behalf of the Director, CEPACS, Professor Ifeanyi P. Onyeonoru, the Coordinator of Postgraduate Studies, Dr. Peter Olapegba, strongly condemned pipeline vandalism, saying: “More tragic is the human casualties that have emanated from different explosion.” He said it was “highly imperative” to “tackle the problem headlong.”
The President of the HURESSA, CEPACS, Comrade Adeoye Gbenga, earlier in his brief remarks explained that the symposium was organised “in fulfillment of our mandate as humanitarian students.” Adding:
“We have decided to, even in our own little way, intervene to sort out an unattended but crucial issue gradually destroying human existence in our dear country.” According to Gbenga, “Although this generation is a wasted one, we must be on the optimistic side to contribute our own quota to make Nigeria great.”
Delivering a paper at the symposium, the Oyo State Commissioner Economic Planning and Budgeting, Alhaji Nurudeen Olarinde, lamented that vandalisation has become a common phenomenon and assumed complex ramifications.
“It is quite unfortunate and shameful that there is no commensurate penalty for vandalism and we have not heard in the news about the prosecution of vandals,” he said, also lamenting that “oil pipeline vandals are now better armed than the nation’s security operatives, which is absurd.”
Olarinde bemoaned the present high rate of illegal bunkering and oil theft in Nigeria, which he said is bleeding the country’s economy and, if unchecked, could bring the economy to its knees.”
The commissioner appealed to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to reduce the rate of corruption by 50 per cent, and the federal government to take bold steps to stem the tide of vandalism in the country. “Vandals should be prosecuted publicly and our laws relating to pipeline vandalisation offense must be reviewed to put vandals into book,” he suggested.
In his speech, National Chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch of NUPENG, Apostle Olayemi Olaleye, speaking through his deputy, Comrade Salmon Akanni Oladiti, stated that pipeline vandalism has been a major threat to the survival of this nation as its implication ranges from economic to social and political. He pointed out that many of the nation’s strategic depots have been left idle and moribund for years as pipelines supplying products through them have been constantly been under incessant attack by vandals and irreparable.
“The challenge now is that the government seems helpless in the face of the onslaught of the vandals which emanate from the fact that vandalism has become a well entrenched syndicate with active connivance of security men, judiciary, NNPC staff, top governmental officials and politicians of our country,” Olaleye stated.
He Nigerians to consider the oil and gas industry as a collective heritage, advocating that its security should be a national affair and collective priority, with a view to avoiding further destruction of the legacy.
•Photo courtesy nigerianbulletin.com.
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