Findings by salkida.com revealed that the vandals have a clandestine but outrageously bold network that criss-crosses the major oil companies operating in the downstream sector, strategic formations of the Nigerian security agencies and sundry oil industry platforms that frequently and effectively put to their disposal as and when needed. It is usually from their well placed contacts in the oil companies operating in the downstream sector that the vandals usually get information on when to strike at a particular pipeline point. With the cover of usually well armed security personnel in official uniforms with operation vehicles, the vandals move in, pry open a point on the pipeline, drain as much content as their capacity could carry. From the pipeline point they usually divert the content to some other underground location for processing and loading. It is at the loading point that all vestiges of criminality is eliminated as the legitimate oil dealers are the ones that take the fuel from this point in their trucks.
This particular syndicate hardly damage pipelines, they turn the pipes on and off with the locally constructed taps they created, and till date, the syndicates work with security officials that give them the necessary cover they require to ‘succeed,’ salkida.com learnt. After loading the trucks meant to head across the boarder or to the northern parts of the country are usually disguised to create the impression it is ferrying foodstuffs or other non petroleum goods. The accompanying exclusive pictures tell the story even more vividly as the trucks are escorted by some rogue elements within the security agencies. “Sometimes we don’t get escorts we pay our way through checkpoints all the way from Auchi to Kano,” said one of the transporters, referring to his particular experience. He added that, they usually sell the petrol (as seen in photos), between 40 to 50 Naira per litre at point of purchase before heading back to reload.
When asked why the dispose the products at such give away rates, the particular transporter tutored this reporter thusly: “It is cheap because it is stolen, it is in high demand because there is scarcity, it is easy to transport because of complicity by the security agencies.” The economic effects of such pipeline vandalism to Nigeria is huge in terms of losses, environmental contamination, and fire outbreaks usually resulting in loss of lives. Scarcity and shortage of petroleum products that also affect electricity supply, as being experienced in Nigeria today has become a regular daily normal way of life triggering further levels of corruption in the system.