Rivers explosion: Senate orders replacement of old pipelines

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By: Joy Odor/Abuja

The Senate has ordered the replacement of all old pipelines across the country following an oil pipeline explosion at Komkom Town in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State which claimed many lives and property recently.

It urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; Petroleum Pricing and Monitoring Company, PPMC and all other relevant agencies involved in the oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities as well as laying of the pipelines to take a holistic survey of their pipelines so that very aged ones should be replaced.

The upper legislative chamber also urged all agencies in the oil and gas production sector to improve on the security of the nation’s oil pipelines all over the country.

While further directing the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA to visit the scene and provide succour to those affected, the Senate sympathize with the government and people of Rivers State and especially the Komkom people over the ugly incident.

The Senate resolutions followed a motion on the explosion sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) and three others during plenary.

Presenting the motion, Sekibo informed that no fewer than 15 persons died instantly with over 50 injured while properties worth millions of Naira were consumed by the fire from the June 22 Komkom explosion.

He noted that majority of the pipelines were laid over 50 years ago, pointing out that “with time and usage they may have been weak in some sections”.

Senator Sekibo said this factor, among others, contributed to the incessant pipeline explosions in the Niger Delta region and other areas which has been a major source of death.

He recalled that “such explosions have always brought irreparable devastating consequences on the people and the affected areas, as is often, such explosions usually change the environment and the livelihood of the people in the area”.

According to him, the Soku explosion about eight years ago took hundreds of lives and still kept many people maimed while the NNPC Jetty at Okrika explosion about seven years ago claimed the lives of over 70 persons and left many persons maimed as well.

The lawmaker maintained that two of the major causes of pipeline explosion are due to age of the pipes and vandals who try to pilfer crude oil for bunkering.

He lamented that the nation and indeed the Federal Government which is hugely benefitting from the accrument from proceeds of the oil exploration and exploitation are not taking the appropriate actions to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of explosion.

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