The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has averred that those involved in the vandalism of oil installations in the country are as bad as Boko Haram terrorists, insisting that they should not be tolerated under any circumstance.
He then expressed the determination of the Federal Government to fight menace to a standstill through the deployment of sophisticated weapons, even as he revealed that there are plans to set up a permanent pipeline special security force to stamp out the economic menace.
The Vice-President disclosed this on Friday at Osubi Airstrip shortly after his return aboard Nigerian Air force chopper 5N-CHM from inspecting the January 14 bombed oil and gas pipeline at Forcados Terminal in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
While bemoaning effects of the destruction of oil installations on power generation and the over 250,000 barrels of crude oil lost per day by the Federal Government, he commended steps so far taken by the NNPC in ameliorating the damage done and the problem associated with getting gas supply to power gas plants in the country.
According to him, “We would have to deploy even sophisticated weapons to ensure we contain vandalism; we may have to set up a permanent pipeline security force as an option to look at stamping out the menace.
“As you know, pipeline vandals are probably as bad as any type of terrorists or saboteurs and the danger posed to lives caused by pipelines vandals.
“All of us must agree with the president that the vandals must be treated in the most severe manner and should not be tolerated at all.
“So, I agree with Mr President entirely that pipeline vandals should not be tolerated under any circumstance,” Osinbajo vowed.
According to him, a lot of efforts are being made by the Federal Government and state governments as well as communal help to repair the damaged pipelines, meet the current vandalism challenges as well as ascertain what can be done in the future to arrest the trend.
Also speaking, the Delta State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Okowa, who accompanied the Vice-President to inspect the Forcados terminal, said the repairs being carried out by NNPC would likely be concluded by end of May.
Okowa, while fielding questions from journalists after Osinbajo had left Osubi Airstrip aboard Nigerian Air Force 5N-CHM airline, explained that the bombed gas pipelines were responsible for the meagre 3,000mw of power supply in the country.
“The gas component is also a huge problem. There is a lot of shortage of gas and the power situation in the country is already getting very bad. It has dropped remarkably to 3,000 megawatt which is not just enough at the moment,” he noted.