Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has decried the unnecessary loss of precious human lives as witnessed in the petroleum pipeline fire incident at Arepo, Ogun State.
He expressed shock at the death of over 100 Nigerians who burnt beyond recognition due to activities of oil pipeline vandals as people alleged to be scooping fuel from a burst Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline were trapped without needed emergency response to rescue them.
“The incident saddens me because I realize that these are Nigerians who have met their untimely deaths in such gruesome circumstances.
“I must say that the fire incident in that area was one too many at a time one would have thought that we have put issues of pipeline vandalism, blamed for the fire incident, behind us. It is also worrisome that security agencies and emergency rescue workers seemed helpless in immediately swinging into action to rescue the affected victims or curtailing the spread of the fire,” he said.
The Senate president therefore urged Nigerians to be wary of scooping fuel from burst pipelines as they portend great danger and can cause unimaginable calamity to lives and property.
He assured the Federal Government of the support of the National Assembly in all its current efforts aimed at securing the lives and property of Nigerians.
“Pipeline vandalism is evil. Apart from it being a heinous economic crime, it often leads to waste of lives and property just like we have again witnessed.
“The activities of vandals today challenge our security agencies to up their game and prove once more that they are more than equal to criminal gangs who daily sabotage essential economic infrastructure, leading to unnecessary loss of lives, heightened insecurity and above all resource leakages.
“Nigerians, especially those living in security challenged areas, must take the Arepo explosion as a call to national duty by partnering with the security agencies through timely intelligence so as to prevent recurrence of calamities of these very magnitude.
“Our citizens and national assets must be secured against security risks such as pipeline vandalism, oil theft and kidnapping etc, irrespective of where they live or are located in the country,” he said.
Saraki also called on the joint task security team to urgently secure all national assets across the country and ensure that bodies yet to be retrieved from the Arepo inferno are immediately evacuated.