•INC sets up c’tte on dissenting Ijaw youths
By Emma Amaize
THE Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, and Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, CHURAC, both Niger Delta advocacy organizations, have dropped a hint that ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, will seal the drain-off points and locations of illegal oil bunkering.
National President, IPDI,Austin Ozobo, and Chairman, Board of Trustees, CHURAC, Alaowei Cleric, in two separate statements, yesterday, said the oil bunkering syndicate knowing what Tompolo was capable of doing, has resorted to sponsoring protests against the ex-militant leader.
Meanwhile, following the deepening tension generated by the award of pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo, President, Ijaw National Congress, INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, weekend, in Yenagoa, inaugurated a five-man committee “to interface with the different Ijaw groups to harmonize their interests and to ensure that in the process the Ijaw unity and agenda are not compromised.”
IPD asserted: “The big oil thieves are afraid that Tompolo will identify their concealed draw-off points on the pipelines and getaway routes in the creeks and block them. That is exactly what he will do with the assistance of security agents. Because they know he will put them out of business, they are sponsoring protests against Tompolo’s involvement in the oil surveillance contract.
“The cartel that deals with international oil bunkering know very well that Tompolo will not be bothered with small-scale oil- thieves, but big time exporters of stolen crude. Hence they embarked on calumny and mischief againstTompolo.
“Five companies got the surveillance contracts in question. They are not worried about others. Their only concern is Tompoolo because he has what it takes to stop them from stealing the oil.
“Our worry again is why some greedy and selfish Niger Delta youths allow oil thieves to fight their brother, Tompolo.
“The protest clearly shows that Tompolo is capable and is dreaded by the cartel of the big —time and small-scale oil thieves.
“He did the work perfectly when the job was awarded to him during the Jonathan administration. The records are there. Based on these records, they persuaded him to accept the offer after declining the offer for about a year now.
“However, even if we say that oil belongs to us, there is a need to protect our environment from this unredeemable pollution. That is why we need to reduce the level of pollution by checking the bunkering activities, “the group said.
On his part, CHURAC said: “We know those who are protesting are being sponsored by the cartel who indulge in the illegal business. They know that their days are numbered. Tompolo will soon block all the leakages where the thieves siphon our oil.
“We advise President Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, to disregard the ranting of those dissident or delinquent elements.
“The pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo by the Federal Government of Nigeria is the right step in the right direction. Tompolo, being a maritime security expert in Africa, is the right man to save Nigeria from the loss of her daily earnings in the petroleum sector.
“Nigeria’s crude oil production is on a steady decline due to the activities of illegal oil bunkerers in the Niger Delta.
“This is not the first time this contract is awarded to Tompolo. It was first awarded to him during the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s time and he did well to help boost oil production. It is on record that federal government gained a lot when Tompolo executed the contract. Of course, he will surely bring his experience to bear. NNPC Limited did the right thing by awarding the contract to him again.
“We can safely say that awarding the contract to Tompolo is in accordance with the NigerianContent Development Law. It is also in tandem with one of the demands of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF’- 16-point demands.
“Towards the tail end of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, opposition elements used propaganda to brainwash the present government.The contract was eventually taken away from Tompolo and awarded to someone, who probably did not even know the colour of the black oil. We all saw a surge in illegal oil bunkering activities during that period.
“Tompolo has been in the business of securing the nation’s economic assets since 2004 in collaboration with security agents. There is no other person who can execute this contract better than him. We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for considering Tompolo for the pipeline job against all odds.
“The northern youths protesting against the award of the contract to Tompolo should look beyond their ethnoreligious sentiment and consider its overall benefits to the nation,” it said.
Inaugurating the committee at Ijaw House, Yenagoa, INC President, Okaba, called on Ijaw people, particularly youths, to restrain themselves from sowing seeds of discord and promoting pull-down syndrome.
The committee, headed by the National Financial Secretary of INC, Chief Kennedy Odiowei, with a former President of Ijaw YouthCouncil, IYC, Chief Oyenefie Jonjon as Secretary, Eneyo Anthanasius, Chief Dan Ekpebide, and Ambah Binaebi as members is expected to submit its preliminary reports in two weeks.
According to Okaba: “Recently, the INC has been buffeted with reports of brewing tensions among various Ijawyouth groups as a result of the pipeline surveillance contract. We frown at such divisive tendencies and propensities.
“It is given the above concise preamble that I deem it necessary for us to interface on the brouhaha being generated by the recent reports of the renewal of oil pipeline surveillance contract to our brother, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly called Tompolo.”
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