Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Active collaboration of security agents, influential Nigerians who act as godfathers and lack of state-of-the-art weapons to tackle pipeline vandals are the reasons the illicit business continues to thrive in the country.
These were the findings of the researchers at the Criminology unit, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan. They indicted men of the police force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), among others, in the ceaseless pipeline vandalization which had cost the country billions of naira in revenue generation and provision of security to tackle the menace.
According to the researchers, “super rich Nigerians are sponsoring oil pipeline vandalisation at Arepo community, Ogun state.”
In a research report titled “Social organization of Oil pipeline Vandalism in Arepo Community, Ogun state” by Dr Oludayo Tade and Ayodele Austin, the researchers called on the Inspector general of police, Solomon Arase to probe the complicity of its men posted to work at Arepo for allegedly working with money bags, corrupt staff of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) staff who aid pipeline vandalisation.
The duo went further “pipeline vandalism in Arepo involved active collaboration of security agencies in general and in particular the police, senior staff at the NNPC (Mosimi), Department of Petroleum resources (DPR), who have corruptly enriched themselves at the expense of the nation.
“All these actors provide the necessary information and deploy their networks to aid the crime and even get the arrested vandals released from the hands of the law.
While the NSCDC Act empowers it to protect government infrastructure such as pipelines, the criminologists found that reported romance between police and top NNPC personnel has impeded successful routing of vandals in the location as compromised officers and staff in NNPC provide vandals with information on when pressures are sent out across pipelines.
The researchers advocated the deployment of technology surveillance such as motion and flow detectors to check corrupt practices and vandalism as well as equipping security agencies with state-of-heart weapons, bullet proof, vehicles and gun boats which they currently lack.
“There is also politics in the anti-vandalism campaign. How do you expect security agents to face well equipped vandal when our security agents do not have bullet proof jackets, helmet, let alone vehicle and other incentives?. Poorly equipped officers look the other way when confronted and become corrupted by the network of influential people.”
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