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Tompolo Awarded With N48b Contract

yesterday ignited a fresh storm over the N48 billion crude oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tantita Security Services led by former militant leader, Government Ekpemepulo aka Tompolo, by the Federal Government.

The governor said in Port Harcourt that it was wrong to award such a  contract  to ‘one man’.

He said the decision would not achieve the objective it was meant to serve because,in his view, an individual should not  have control over the assets in another’s territory.
The Ikwerre Peoples Congress (IPC) threw its weight behind the governor, saying there was no reason by the government to exclude critical stakeholders like the Ikwerre people whose land hosts a large percentage of the pipelines.
But some other Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders under the aegies of Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) took an opposing view.

The Tompolo contract, they said, should be renewed  as it has helped in checking oil theft in the region.

Fubara,  who mentioned no name, told a high powered Federal Government delegation led by National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu, that “Security of pipeline should not be given to one man or one person.”
He said: “How can someone from Kalabari be controlling the pipeline in Ogoni? There is no way it will work.
“We must look at bringing all the key people in the various communities.
“Two of our sons from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom are heading the ministry of petroleum. We don’t want them to fail. We must give them the necessary support.”
He advised the delegation to engage the right people to  get the right information.
Fubara spoke of how  Rivers State under the immediate past governor, Nyesom Wike waged a war against illegal refining of crude oil ,and vowed that his own administration would do no less.

Ribadu said his team was mandated by President Bola Tinubu to put an end to crude oil theft and illegal refining of petroleum products.
Also on the tour schedule of the delegation are  other states in the Niger Delta.
The team also comprises  Defence Minister  Muhammed Badaru; Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; Minister of State (Oil), Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri; Minister of State (Gas), Petroleum Resources, Ekperipe Ekpo; Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa and  the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja.
Fubara is right, says Ikwerre Peoples Congress
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Fubara’s stance received instant support from the  Ikwerre Peoples Congress (IPC) whose Chairman, Livingstone Wechie  wondered why other critical stakeholders like the Ikwerre ethnic nationality were not part of the  surveillance contract even when a large percentage of the pipelines crisscross their land.
 “Whereas we have no objection to the award of the contracts to stakeholders such as Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo and the company allegedly linked to the Olu of Warri, because they are stakeholders as of right, it is our view that the federal government’s distribution formula for this opportunity isolates critical stakeholders like the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, whose youngsters have always on record cooperated with the Federal Government in assisting to voluntarily protect oil and gas installations in the region domiciled in Ikwerre land to avert sabotage,” he said.
He added:”For the records, Ikwerres are the highest contributors of land hosting Federal Government institutions and critical national oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region including other resources to the Nigerian state with more than 300 functional oil wells both on land and sea and this is not in the dispute.

“There are thousands of oil pipelines and numerous oil and gas facilities crisscrossing  the length and breadth of Ikwerre land in Rivers State yet in all the considerations of the Federal Government as regards oil and gas economic opportunities, the Federal Government looks away from such a people who have chosen not to be violent in their approach but play as partners of development with the Federation Government, particularly, under the thriving administration of President Bola Tinubu.
 “Much as we, the Ikwerres, gave President Bola Tinubu the highest votes in the Niger Delta to make him President through the leadership and political command of our own Chief Nyesom Wike the FCT Minister, we believe that the observations made by His Excellency, Governor Sim Fubara of Rivers State in respect of the surveillance contract award is crucial and has brought to the fore these deep seated concerns.
“We urge His Excellency President Bola Tinubu in the spirit of peace and equity in the region to strongly consider Ikwerre People’s Congress, IPC, which is a socio-political and economic driving force for Ikwerres’ young people in this surveillance contract project as of right.
 “This is because the IPC which has been in the lead for peace, security and economic democracy in the Niger Delta are ready to diplomatically engage the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that we are well captured in keeping with the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.”
Fubura should take case to FG – NEF
Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said by phone yesterday: “The Buhari administration, I think, was responsible for giving Tompolo that contract and even possibly, earlier contract.
“There are two issues here: are the pipelines secure under Tompolo? And, is the cost justifiable?
“So, what the governor of River State should do is take this issue up with the Federal Government. It is a very sensitive issue, so he should take it up with the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government is responsible for these pipelines, the Federal gives the contract. Is it that  we are over paying Tompolo or Tompolo is not protecting the pipelines? Then there are many channels through which the governor can make his position known.
“As it is now, we at NEF don’t have enough information to actually comment on the basis of his objection. Is he saying N48billion is too much to be paid to Tompolo? Or is he saying that the services that Tompolo is rendering are not worth the N48billion? Or that there is still oil bunkering?”  
In his own reaction, Senator who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly, Comrade Shehu Sani, opined that  if the services have been well rendered by Tompolo, there should not be any objection, but the contract should be shared  among other security firms with a  similar capacity.
Senator Shehu Sani was, however, quick to add that the Federal Government should equip the Nigerian Navy to take over the pipeline security job from private security firms.
“My own view is that  if the contract that was given, the man is delivering the services, in terms of protecting the pipelines and tackling oil theft, then it is okay.
“On the second aspect of it, if there are other companies, security firms that can also deliver such services, the contract should be diversified and other firms should also be considered in the interest of peace in that area. 
“Oil production seems to have risen as a result of the services he has been providing and that is a good thing, but other security firms should also be considered.
“But much more importantly, our own security agencies, like the Nigerian Navy should be well equipped for them to take over that job. It should not be a permanent thing giving it to private security firms,” he said. 

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