By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depot in Ejigbo area of Lagos State has shut down due to alleged incessant disappearance of petroleum products pumped into the facility.
ThisDay reports that the issue of missing petrol forced management of the state-owned oil agency to launch an investigation into the matter.
The Ejigbo NNPC depot had resumed loading activities in March after the efforts of NNPC to tackle vandalism had yielded results with the repairs of the vandalised portion of the pipelines linking the depot with Atlas Cove Depot, also in Lagos.
Ejigbo Depot is one of the depots under NNPC’s System 2B Pipeline Network, which is the most active network, accounting for 60 per cent of fuel supply and distribution in the country.
Under the System 2B, the NNPC pumps imported products from the Atlas Cove Depot in Lagos through pipelines to Ejigbo Depot also in Lagos and Mosimi Depot in Ogun State.
From these two depots, the products are pumped further through pipelines to Ibadan Depot in Oyo State, Ore Depot in Ondo State and Ilorin Depot in Kwara State, for petrol tankers to lift products from these depots.
THISDAY gathered that most of these depots have been inactive as a result of the vandalism of the feeder pipelines between the Atlas Cove Depot and Arepo in Ogun State.
A source at Ejigbo Depot told THISDAY at the weekend that with the improvement recorded by the NNPC in repairing the pipelines and tackling vandalism, the depot resumed loading activities in March.
“It started loading in March but it has been shut down because NNPC complained of missing products. Each time they pump petrol into the depot, they will discover during loading that there is shortage. So, they shut down to investigate,” he explained.
Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Mr Ndu Ughamadu told THISDAY at the weekend that the rehabilitation of the depots was an ongoing exercise.
Mr Ughamadu, who was silent on the condition of Ejigbo Depot, added that the most important thing is that the ‘train has left the station,’ obviously referring to the ongoing nationwide reactivation of the depots following the success recorded by the corporation in reducing vandalism.
“And we are progressing. Today, depots that were not wet are filled with products. We shall get to your target,” Mr Ughamadu said. He was however, silent on the issue of Ejigbo Depot.
Western Zonal Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to which the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) is affiliated, Mr Tokunbo Korodo, told THISDAY that tanker drivers would be glad to load at all the depots in System 2B.
“If there is fuel in the other depots under System 2B, the tanker drivers will go there and load. As, I am talking to you now, no loading is taking place in Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin. Even Mosimi and Ejigbo are just doing skeletal loading. So, there is more pressure on Apapa, which was worsened by the closure of Capital Oil. If Capital Oil is loading, it will also reduce pressure on Apapa,” Korodo explained.
THISDAY gathered that the situation at Ejigbo is worsened with the absence of enough parking spaces for the tankers waiting to lift products.
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