Oil thieves tampered with a crude pipeline, resulting in a major spill and environmental destruction in Uyenghe, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
It was learnt that the pipeline vandals orchestrated the illegal but lucrative arrangement with the help of dishonest members of the neighbourhood.
Sources claim that the pipeline was severed multiple times in order to syphon the crude oil, which spilt and wreaked havoc on the pristine yet delicate ecology.
Vanguard was informed by knowledgeable sources that the oil thieves built no less than 36 storage tanks to facilitate their activities in the forest.
Augustine Nkwobia, the national youth president of Uyenghe, said that the oil companies had hired the youths to demolish the facilities and described the process as laborious.
He predicted that the kids would need at least two months to disassemble the tanks.
Unverified rumours suggested that the firms would hire local youngsters to watch over and defend the pipelines against future attacks.
A concerned person who only went by the name Engineer Bassey expressed shock at the manner the leak is being handled and said: “When there is a spill, the first thing you have to do is clean up and secure the environment.
“What I have observed in Uyenghe is that when there is a spill they would use sand to cover it up.
“The effect of this current spill is devastating. If it doesn’t affect the community today, it will definitely affect it in the future.
“If you say that the spill was a result of sabotage, it does not mean that you should not clean up the environment. In clean-up, you do not pour sand to cover the spill.
“Therefore, my candid advice is that they should do the needful by ensuring that the clean-up and remediation are done and completed in earnest and have it inspected and certified by NOSDRA.”
A check revealed that samples had been taken to Port Harcourt for additional analysis as part of the Joint Investigation Visit involving the oil companies, the neighbourhood, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, and other regulatory agencies.
Despite a formal request, no representative from Universal Energy Resource Limited or Savannah Energy, the owners of the OML 14, was ready to speak publicly about the event.
According to reports, security officials have been pursuing the horrible crime's fleeing masterminds.
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