Abakaliki - The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has decried the increasing rate of pipeline vandalism in Ebonyi, especially in Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area of the state.
The Enugu State Depot Manager of NNPC, Adebayo Ojo, said this when he paid a courtesy call on Gov. Martin Elechi, in Abakaliki on Thursday.
Ojo described the vandals as economic saboteurs and that their act was capable of crippling the nation’s economy.
"I call on the Federal Government and security agencies to intensify efforts to curb the menace.
"The Federal Government and the security agents cannot fight the menace alone as they need the collaboration of the State and Local Government area administrations across the country.
"Communities on their own should offer useful information to security agents to enable them work effectively as we are experiencing this problem mainly on Ishiagu route in Ebonyi,’’ he said.
According to him, the corporation has since embarked on the rehabilitation of the pipeline that will ensure the supply of petroleum products to Enugu Depot.
"The depot is expected to commence operation before the end of next month as the rehabilitation process has been costly,’’ Ojo said.
He said that the hydro-testing work of the rehabilitated pipeline was in progress and being executed according to schedule.
"As soon as the delivery pressure and line integrity are actualised from the Port Harcourt depot, the product will start coming to Enugu,'' Ojo said.
Elechi assured that the state government would assist in ensuring the safety of oil facilities.
He criticised the spate of pipeline vandalism in the country and called on governments of the South-South and South-East geo-political zones to collaborate in curbing the trend.