Some stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have advised the Federal Government to revive the country’s rail system for petroleum products transportation to ameliorate the challenges of pipelines vandalism.
This call comes as a recent Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) report indicated that about N12.754 billion was lost to crude oil, petroleum products theft and vandalism in November 2016.
National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chinedu Okoronkwo, argued that transporting petroleum products through the rail system remains the best options, adding that this will also reduce incessant vandalism on the pipelines network, which the country is currently experiencing.
He urged government to expedite plans to revive the rail system to start transporting petroleum products by rail to some parts of the country. He noted that the impact of militants on the pipelines network are enormous, adding that the rail system would reduce the huge amount being loss by government on vandalism.
According to him, the country’s pipelines are not effective because it has aged due to impact of vandalism, and so the emphasis now is for government to look for ways to start moving petroleum products by rail.
“If we switch to rail, the pressure on our roads will be reduced. It will also reduce frequent damage on the pipelines network. The rail option would not make tanker drivers redundant but rather it would instead complement their jobs,” he said.
The Managing Director, Degeconek Nigeria Limited, Abiodun Adesanya, urged government to device other means of transporting petroleum products across the states, as the country loses billions of naira on pipelines vandalism.
Adesanya said aside from reducing the level of vandalism in the country the rail system will also reduce the traffic gridlocks in major towns and cities.
According to him, there are numerous cases of cargo trucks either crushing vehicles by falling and causing deaths or bursting into flames razing many homes, but with the rail system such incidences will be reduced.
“In the past the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) engaged in the transportation of petroleum products to other parts of the country which often reduced theft and vandalism. We should go back to the good old days, the NRC should talk with oil marketers in the country with a view to partnering with them in lifting their products to all parts of Nigeria,” he said.
The Publicity Secretary, Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), John Itua, observed that the revamping of the rail transportation system would have more impact on Nigerians with the resuscitation of the movement of petroleum products and haulage services by the NRC, as was done in the early days.
An independent petroleum marketer, Ahmed Fashola, advised the NNPC to adopt the rail transportation system to ease the movement of its products to various parts of the country by rail, which he said is more realistic and sustainable.
“Nothing is difficult for a government to do at any level if they are honest and sincere. The problem we are having in this part of the world is that every policy is not anchored on honesty and sincerity. Lack of sincerity and honesty on the part of government worsened the problem of pipeline vandalism which disrupts fuel distribution nationwide,” he said.
Fashola said that the railway arrangement should be meticulously handled to prevent it from being hijacked by saboteurs.