THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 17, No. 1, June 2019
‘Bleeding Nigeria through the Pipelines’: Understanding Oil pipeline Vandalism in Arepo, Southwest Nigeria
Oludayo Tade, Austin Ayodele
Criminology and Victimology Unit, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Crude oil has been the mainstay of the Nigerian Economy for decades. However, vandalism, oil theft and bunkering are flourishing criminal activities that have impeded the growth of the oil sector and invariably the economic development of the country. The study explored the modes of operation used by vandals and the networks of individuals involved in the vandalization of the oil pipelines in Arepo area of Ogun State, Nigeria. Using largely qualitative method of data collection, 25 participants were purposively selected while opinion were sampled and gathered through in-depth (IDI) and key informant interviews (KII). A total of 15 IDIs was conducted to sample opinions of NSCDC members while 10 KIIs conducted comprised of Arepo community leaders and residents. Successful vandalisation of oil pipelines in Arepo community occurred majorly due to the connivance of the security agents and the sponsors of vandalization (usually influential Nigerians). Some members of Arepo town acted as informants to vandals while they were in return provided with the proceeds of vandalism. Findings further showed that the terrain of buried pipelines influenced successful vandalism operation and impede surveillance. Although vandalism soared higher during raining season, the vandals operated mostly at night. Vandals had uniforms, used hotels as hide outs and made use of encoded words to disguise their operations. Arising from the study’s findings, satellite tracking of geo information system will effectively enhance the policing of the networks of pipelines rather than relying on state agents.
Keywords: Arepo, Nigeria, oil pipeline, vandals, vandalism