Abuja -The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its midstream operator, Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) have blamed the oil spill at Ijegun area of Lagos on pipeline sabotage.
This is contained in a statement by Dr Omar Ibrahim, Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of NNPC.
The statement explained that the oil spill was caused by pipeline vandals who hacked a product pipeline in the area.
It said that the Ijegun area had always been very notorious for the activities of oil thieves who had incessantly hacked into pipelines with the aim of stealing products.
“We wish to acknowledge oil spill from our pipeline at the Ijegun area in Lagos, the unfortunate incident is a result of pipeline sabotage by people suspected to be oil thieves.
“We have been experiencing a rise in the incidents of pipeline vandalism on the Ijegun section of our pipeline and we are doing our best to fix them as they are noticed.
In January alone, we have located and fixed 73 ruptured points on that Mosimi - Ijegun - Atlas Cove line,” it said.
It said that the entire stretch of that pipeline was replaced in 2010, ruling out the possibility that the rupture may have been as a result of the old age of the pipeline.
It assured that PPMC engineers had since been mobilised to the area to contain the spill, locate and fix the ruptured points.
“Despite the difficult nature of the terrain, our engineers are working relentlessly to fix the damaged line.
“They are doing everything to contain the spill and stop it from spreading to cause more environmental damage.
“We, therefore, call on members of the public not to go near the area for safety reasons,” it stated.
The PPMC spokesperson, Nasir Imodagbe, also condemned the development, adding that vandalism was a criminal act that should be fought by all Nigerians.
Imodagbe called on members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement around pipelines to the law enforcement agencies.
He urged Nigerians to support the government in its fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism
"When incidents like this occur, they lead to disruption in the petroleum products supply system and cause hardship for the ordinary hardworking citizens.
“They have long-lasting devastating effects on the environment which could affect future generations,” he said.