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After pipeline explosions, Senate panel wants NNPC to refund ‘outrageous’ N382m spent on firefighting

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The Senate on Tuesday ordered the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to refund the N382 million the Corporation expended on firefighting operations in Komkom, Rivers State.

The upper legislative chamber described the amount as “outrageous.”

The demand was sequel to a report submitted by the Senate ad-hoc Committee led by Abdullahi Gobir, senator representing Sokoto East.

Gobir presented the report of the committee’s probe of July pipeline explosions in Komkom where 43 people were killed and that of Ijegun in Lagos that reportedly killed 11 people.

The senator said vandals exposed the pipeline to leaks after “puncturing and siphoning petroleum products.”

According to him, NNPC and its contractors had knowledge of the pipeline leaks in Komkom and Ijegun, but failed to take immediate action to fix the problems.

He said that the incidents in Rivers and Lagos States were avoidable if the NNPC and the contractors maintaining and monitoring the pipelines were proactive.

He said: “That NNPC should start the process of deploying modern technology in pipeline surveillance and detection of leakages as well as introduce effective protection of the pipelines.

“That NNPC (and NPSC) should refund to the treasury, the outrageous sum of N382,203,055.74 it claimed to have used in firefighting operation in Komkom and provide evidence of compliance to the committee on downstream petroleum sector.

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“That NNPC (and NPSC) should carry out proper check on all the petroleum product pipelines across the country to ascertain their status for either repairs or total replacement.

“That the governments of Rivers and Lagos States as well as all pipeline host community leaders should sensitise all occupants of pipeline right of ways to vacate the right of ways.”

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