Federal Government has been advised to engage indigenous investors and community leaders in finding a lasting solution to the resurgence of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
The Managing Director of Dateline Energy Services, Mr. Wilson Opuwei, gave the advice while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, he condemned the recent bombing of oil installations in some parts of Delta State by suspected militants.
Opuwei however said that the Federal government should tread with caution as a military invasion would not solve the problem at hand.
According to him, “I must say that it is unfortunate that this should be happening at a time when our economy is currently in a state- of -flux, as a result of the change of guard from one government to another, the somersaults in monetary and fiscal policies as well as the drop in global oil pricing which has put pressure on the naira against the dollar amongst others.
“However the recent spite of pipeline bombings couldn’t have been as a result of agitation but economic sabotage.
“My advice to government would be to employ strategic engagements, deploy intelligence gathering and investigations as well as consult with community leaders because the criminal elements also live amongst them and not a military invasion that could lead to killings of innocent citizens.
“Subsequently, government should downplay militant engagement for now and work through state governments, intellectuals and well meaning industry operators who are investors having the development of the nation at heart.
“Also government should remember that the Niger Delta has well meaning people who have worked tirelessly for the development of the region as an integral part of this nation and deserve a right to social security, equality and well-being considering that they the goose that lays the golden egg.
“Furthermore government should recognise the efforts of some leaders who have contributed somehow towards the development of the area in other ways aside being in government as they have been behind the peace and stability in the region.
Speaking further, he said that President Muhammadu Buhari administration should not repeat made by previous governments who only engaged some militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme without carrying along other critical stakeholders in the region.
“The government should at this time engage indigenous industry operators, community leaders and investors who are equal stakeholders in addressing the challenges of the region.
“In fact people like us that have foreign investor partners, as co-owners of the pipelines and facilities cannot afford for ventures not to be profitable which would in turn increase production and activities as well as added revenue for the nation,” Opuwei noted.
According to him, the industry regulators should ensure an effective corporate governance structure that ensures transparency and provide real time surveillance of installations and facilities in the region.
He said: “Incidentally, there are modern technologies for surveying and protecting oil and gas pipelines including ‘SCADA” which allows for remote monitoring such we don’t have to physically patrol to monitor pipelines.
“This also allows for the military to effectively patrol only suspected sections, as they can see the entire lines from a remote station and can even deploy commands to destabilise or activate any particular section from the remote station.
“Government should deploy technologies, not only to keep an eye on the pipelines but also protect the integrity considering that not every pipe leakage is sabotage as most of the old lines have outlived their lifespan and may erupt if not replaced on time.
“That is also another avenue to promoting local content especially those with the skill sets to undertake pipeline repairs and surveillance activities.”
On the current challenges being faced as a result of the falling oil price, Opuwei urged the government to diversify the economy by formulating policies that enables export-focused industrialisation and to maximise oil and gas bye products development.
He said: “The government should promote gas domestication and export, as well as channel the proceeds from oil sales to the right sectors.
“Furthermore we should initiate new exploration and production activities as well attract investments to existing oil operations towards increasing production capacity, whilst reviewing the commercial template of current operators to align with the global pricing regime.”

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