By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Abuja
Anyone who thinks that the administration of the incoming president, General Mohammadu Buhari would tolerate the surveillance of oil pipelines and waterways by private individuals or groups should better think again as there are now plans to discard the practice and revert to the use of conventional security agencies.
Saturday Vanguard’s investigations during the week indicated that already some highly placed persons in Buhari’s camp with military and security backgrounds have begun to fashion out ways that would facilitate the process.
It was gathered that the man behind the process was a Director in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Organisation.
His briefs included to liaise with experts in the sector and other people with rich legal background to work out the template for the new surveillance policy.
When this is completed, the incoming administration, we gathered, would further equip the Nigerian Armed Forces, especially the Army and Navy, as well as the police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and hand them over the job of protecting the oil pipelines and other installations both onshore and offshore.
The implication of this however, is that Buhari’s government would stop the contract with some former Niger-Delta militants or groups like the Odua People’s Congress, OPC in the South-west region which the Jonathan administration had awarded such contracts.
The contracts to ex-militants to police Nigeria’s waterways runs into billions of naira, the money, experts say should have been invested in the Navy to perform the role.
In the build up to the last general elections in the country, the media was awash with reports that the outgoing president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan awarded a surveillance contract estimated at about N9 billion to the OPC. OPC leader, Gani Adams severally thanked President Jonathan for the contract.
Buhari had Wednesday, during his meeting with Rivers State chieftains of APC in Abuja warned that his government will not tolerate”an army within the army or a police within the police” in the country.
He had also, at a forum in Abuja, told Nigerians that he would upon assumption of office reopen the books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC for proper auditing in a bid to ensure transparency in the oil sector of the economy.
Speaking in exclusive interview with Vanguard, a member of the Board of Trustees of APC, Chief Sam Nkire said that Buhari would have to tinker with the contracts if they were not properly awarded.
According to Nkire, the outgoing government of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had a lot of underhand deals with some groups.
“Well, once a government has been swept away, it ceases to exist. The new government takes charge and whatever it decides to do, becomes the law. If the government or presidency of Buhari thinks those contracts were not properly given out or were not given to qualified people, of course, the government will cancel those contracts.
“And from what I know of the incoming president, he will not waste a day to cancel those contracts because these are the reasons why Nigerians rejected the PDP government. Because, they did things that should not be done. They did things without recourse to the law.
“They did things with impunity and knowing Buhari as a man who abhors impunity; a man we can say is one of the incorruptible persons, I will be surprised if he does not revoke contracts that were wrongly awarded if he sees them”, Nkire said.
Other areas the incoming Buhari’s regime would look into according to Saturday Vanguard’s investigations include the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, an agency responsible for the regulation of the activities of Nigerian shipping, maritime, labour and coastal waters and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
Sources who spoke to Saturday Vanguard said that the two agencies stink with corruption and financial improprieties.
“ Two other agencies Buhari must look into are NIMASA and FIRS. Stories of corruption in those organizations cannot be ignored. For the incoming president to be taken seriously in his pledge to fight and win the war against corruption, he must sanitize these places. They stink,” a reliable APC source added.