Nigeria needs an entire army to man its oil and gas assets, Commanding Officer of the 3 Battalion, Effurun, Lt Col Igwe Omoke, has said.
Lt.-Col. Omoke spoke when members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Gas Resources visited the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), in Warri, at the weekend.
He said the criminal justice system was an obstacle to efforts to protect critical national assets.
Lt.-Col Omoke, who took the lawmakers, led by the committee’s Chairman, Fredrick Agbedi, on a tour of the devastated Egwa 1 gas pipeline in Warri South West, said communities must guard oil facilities.
He said: “I think the issue is to find a holistic approach to dealing with this kind of situation and I am sure that your presence here is to kickstart the process of dealing holistically with this problem. When the incident happened, I dashed to Egwa 1. One thing that struck me was how can such a critical infrastructure not be manned? When we say we can do more, I think that is where it comes to play.
“It is vast; we are just talking about NGC, we have the SPDC, we have the Chevron, we have the Agip, so many of them with their pipelines crisscrossing the entire Niger Delta. So I want to say, Sir, that it will take an army, not a division, to man these pipelines. We also take care of other things.
“I can tell you that in the last one week I have received about 21 petitions, notifying the multinational companies of their intentions, I mean the communities writing to me, copying me their letters to the multinational oil companies, telling me their intentions to stop the activities of the multinational companies, as either not to pump crude or to stop their workers from coming to work, because of allegations, ranging from their inability to meet up with their GMOU to other things.