Thursday, July 23

Our Absence Has Increased Vandalism Says OPC

Our Absence Has Increased Vandalism Says OPC

Pan-Yoruba group, Oodua Peoples Congress, says the increase in pipeline vandalism started after the organisation stopped protecting oil pipelines.

The group said this while reacting to the death of over 100 people that were killed after a pipeline exploded in the Arepo area of Ogun State.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan had three months before the last elections, awarded the OPC a contract worth billions of naira to secure pipelines in the South-West but after President Muhammadu Buhari took over, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation revoked the contract.

However, the OPC said in a statement by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Yinka Oguntimehin, that had the All Progressives Congress-led government maintained the OPC's services, pipeline vandalism would have become a thing of the past.

The statement read, "It is no doubt regrettable that in a little more than one month after our men quit the job, more than 200 deaths have been recorded as a result of the activities of pipeline vandals.

"While some people condemned our men and called us names, it is on record that nothing of this magnitude happened during the period of the three months that our operatives secured the pipelines.

"Of particular interest was the comment of the spokesperson for the Lagos chapter of the APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, in which he referred to our members as hoodlums and outlaws.

"You will recall that while our men worked at the site of the pipeline in Arepo, even the people of the community had a sense of safety, obviously because the presence of our men in the area. But all that sense of safety is gone with the wind once again, with the return of the vandals."

The group urged the Federal Government not to abandon the OPC but cooperate with the group as the task of securing pipelines was more complex than the ordinary approach. The OPC said politics should be set aside and the lives of the people should be paramount.

It added, "In the last one month, similar deaths were recorded in Ikorodu and Ijedodo, both in Lagos, and in Bayelsa State, all as a result of the activities of pipeline vandals.

"Unfortunately, because we have placed politics above matters of national importance, the vandals have resumed their nefarious activities, killing and maiming our people, while at the same time denying the nation of huge sums of income that can be used to develop the country.

"However, having said that, we must find a lasting solution to the incessant and ugly activities of the vandals. Their actions are ill winds that will blow nobody any good."

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