By Soni Daniel
ABUJA—The Presidency, yesterday, defended the award of multi-million Naira pipeline protection contract to former Niger Delta warlords, saying that the action was part of the lifeline offer under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, made the position known while, announcing the new Head of Department in charge of Post-Amnesty Training, Mr. Tamarabebe Mologi, in Abuja.
Kuku explained that the choice of ex-militant leaders such as Tompolo, Ateke Tom, Boyloaf and other leaders was to ensure the success of the jobs, as only the natives of the Niger Delta were well placed to assist security agencies in combating oil theft and tampering with facilities.
The Presidential aide also said that before the signing of the amnesty deal, the Federal Government had accepted to provide appropriate means of livelihood for the ex-warlords as a means of encouraging them to prevail on their supporters to keep the peace.
“It is important that we stop deceiving ourselves that anybody can protect oil pipelines better than the natives of the oil communities where the pipelines traverse. I believe that only the people of the communities where the pipelines crisscross their backyards can conveniently work with the security agencies to stop oil theft and protect the facilities,” Kuku said.