Monday, May 3, 2010

Nigeria deploys 300 policemen to protect oil pipelines

Nigeria has deployed 300 heavily-armed policemen to monitor the country's 5,000 kilometres of oil pipeline and prevent them from vandals who have been attacking them, the local media reported Monday.

The deployment was ordered by the Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, after agreements were reached with the state oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which owns the pipelines.

According to a breakdown of the number, over 100 Policemen have been deployed to Atlas Cove, the huge fuel depot off the Lagos coast which was attacked last year by suspected militants, 50 to the pipeline routes in northern Kaduna and Kano; 10 to Calabar Jetty and Deport in the South-east and 100 to Mosimi and Ore routes in the South-west.

Nigeria loses millions of naira every year to the incessant vandalisation of pipelines ferrying crude oil and refined products across the country.

Most of the vandals do so for commercial purposes - to siphon the products for sale.

Hundreds have been killed in the process, especially when such pipeline destruction triggers an explosion as people scoop the products.

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