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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Don’t end Tompolo’s pipelines surveillance contract, Ijaw group begs FG

A group, Concerned Ijaw Citizens, has urged President Bola Tinubu to ignore calls to revoke the oil pipelines surveillance contract awarded to Tantita Security Services Ltd ,an outfit owned by Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo).

The Coordinator of the group, Chief Manager Seigha, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

NAN reports that there have been calls in some quarters asking the Federal Government to revoke, without delay, the security contract awarded to Tompolo’s company.

The government,through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), had in 2022 awarded the multi-billion naira contract to Tompolo,a former Niger Delta agitator,to check rising large-scale crude oil theft in the region.

Seigha said those calling for the termination of the contract are enemies of the nation, seeking personal gains at the expense of the country’s economic stability.

He said that Tantita had effectively checked oil theft, helping the country to significantly increase its crude oil production.

Seigha added that Tompolo ,through the contract ,had engaged and empowered many youths in the Niger Delta, thereby helping to reduce restiveness in the region .

“When crude oil theft became so high and Nigeria’s crude oil production went down from about 1.9 million per day to about 900,000 per day, it was Tompolo that came out to offer help.

“At that time, many oil magnates were crying out that the bulk of oil being stolen was about 60 per cent of daily output, and that those of them in the business were losing seriously.

“The volume of oil that was being stolen can only be imagined . At that time, security agencies like the Navy and the police were in Niger Delta, but could not solve the problem.

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“That happened for more than four years before the government, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari engaged Tompolo to address the problem, Seigha said.

He added that Tompolo had done well so far in the execution of the contract and that calls for the contractual agreement to be revoked had no basis .

Seigha added: “He (Tompolo) understands the terrain and creeks and this has been working for the nation. Within one year, Federal Government recovered more than 700,000 barrel per day.

“Today, the country has recovered thousands barrels of oil that were being stolen in the past. It is unfortunate to hear people question why the Federal Government gave the contract to Tompolo.

“In fact ,what the government is paying Tompolo is not commensurate with the huge work he is doing to stabilise the economy.

“We need to safeguard oil installations and protect crude oil from being stolen ,” he said.

According to him, no security personnel can access some of the places where Nigerian oil has been stolen.

“Tompolo’s boys can go to places Police, Navy and Army cannot go. Navy patrols the creeks from 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. What happens at midnight?

“It is these young people employed by Tompolo who are working 24 hours making it impossible for oil theft to take place,” he said.

The co-ordinator said the group’s call on the government to retain Tantita’s contract was not for pecuniary benefits, but out of patriotism and the need to take the economy off the hands of saboteurs

“We, as elders, are not talking because of any gain as we don’t get a dime from the contractor, but we are talking because the nation is dear to us and our environment is better now unlike before.

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“If we look at the great work Tompolo is doing to help the economy, what the government is paying him is nothing much.

“We should not bring the nation back to era of oil theft. In fact, we feel it is not too much to give Tompolo 10 per cent of what he is bringing to the system, to end oil theft.

“So, it is not a job soldiers or police can do. Some people don’t just understand. Nigeria will lose if the contract is revoked as being advocated by some ignorant people.

“There is nobody in the Niger Delta that has the capacity that Tompolo has.Those complaining just want to strangle the economy and make money,” he said. (NAN)

Adeyemi Adeleye
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