November 26, 2022

PIPELINE SECURITY: Tompolo, others have performed amazingly—PANDEF, N-Delta stakeholders

•Urge govt to give PSCs free hand to operate

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Sam Oyadongha, Jimitota Onoyume, Egufe Yafugborhi, Chioma Onuegbu, Davies Iheamnachor and Ozioruva Aliu, 

The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, regional body of South-South, and other stakeholders of the Niger-Delta, have commended ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and his Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, TSSNL, singled out, recently, by the Group Chief Executive Officer, GCEO, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and other Private Security Companies, PSCs, for doing a great job. Great job —Robinson, PANDEF

Speaking to Saturday Vanguard at Port Harcourt, Rivers state, the National Publicity Secretary, PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson, applauded Kyari for recognizing the efforts of Tompolo in securing oil pipelines awarded to his company.

 He said:  ”Tompolo and his boys are doing a good job. The point to note particularly is that indigenous to the community, they know the terrain, they know the nooks and crannies of the creeks, and forests, so they can do a better job as evidenced now.”

 ”But do not forget that there are also others who also have the same contracts. It is not only Tompolo. Sometimes, we have queried why hype on Tompolo. Other people are also doing this job and the focus is on Tompolo. It is not very good because others are in the job too. He is a Nigerian and entitled to get a job.”

 Robinson noted that the problem Tompolo and others were drafted to solve would not have escalated to the point of awarding pipeline surveillance contracts if the Federal Government had the 16-point demand of PANDEF.

 “Let us recall that pipeline surveillance and security issue was one issue raised in the 16-point agenda of PANDEF. If the government had paid close attention to the 16-point agenda some problems, we faced before the Tompolo contract would not have been there,” he said.

Give PSCs free hand to work —Nwoko, SAN

Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Akwa Ibom state, Uwemedimo Nwoko SAN, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard at Uyo, asserted that it was embarrassing and shameful that two or three PSCs achieved oil facilities protection, which the Federal Government of Nigeria and security agencies could not achieve. 

His words: “If the Federal Government with all the Police, Navy, Airforce, Army, Customs, Immigration, DSS, over eight central military and paramilitary agencies put together could not, over the years, protect oil facilities and prevent oil theft in Nigeria. However, just two or three security agencies, which are less than a local government, can now be the ones to protect us, then; I think there is something wrong with Nigeria as a country.”

“And the fact that the private security contractors that have been engaged to handle it have yielded results; we must give credit to them. They have done what the federal government and its security agencies could not achieve.

“The NNPCL, whether as an official agency of government or a limited liability company now, the important thing is that they achieve results. It means more money will come to the sharing table for everybody. I commend the results achieved by those private security contractors engaged. 

 “There should be no interference, the Federal government of Nigeria, the NNPCL, and all the agencies should give them free hand to work. 

 “Those who are the company entrepreneurs, that have been benefitting from the oil theft business have eaten enough and should allow the PSCs to do their work. The federal government must take steps to ensure that whoever they catch in the act faces the full weight of the law, which should be able to discourage people from this criminal act,” he added.

Tip of the iceberg–Wills, Ijaw think-tank

President Ijaw Professionals Association, IPA,  (Homeland Chapter comprising Bayelsa, Delta & Rivers) and a chieftain of Embasara Foundation, an Ijaw think-tank for good governance,

Barrister Iniruo Wills said: “The sensation and momentary relief that greeted the ‘revelation’ of the grand oil theft infrastructure by private security services are justifiable. It is clear even to the dead that as shocking as what they have uncovered is, it is still merely one small tip of the iceberg.”

“Therefore, two things are urgently vital. First, while the private security contractors continue their services, the Presidency should start either an international inquiry that involves reputable institutions like the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor, Transparency International and Global Witness or a carefully selected crack judicial panel, to get to the roots of this systemic pathology.

“All the heads and relevant operational executives of these agencies in the last 24 years should testify in public at the inquiry. However, it should not be the usual shoddy and ineffective Nigerian inquiry.

“Second, since the private service providers appear to be succeeding where both the official security system and the petroleum regulatory complex of the Ministry of Petroleum, former DPR (now NUPRC and NMDPRA), and NOSDRA and co failed woefully for many decades, the contractors should also train the official security and regulatory agencies on anti-oil theft prevention and law enforcement.

Outstanding performance–Ekiye, publisher

Ijaw elder and publisher, EnvironmentWatch, Deacon Braeyi Ekiye, said: “The commendation of NNPCL boss, Alhaji Mele Kyari on Tompolo’s outstanding performance regarding the pipeline surveillance and security of Nigeria’s oil and gas facilities is well -placed. Kyari cannot, but see Tompolo as the answer to the solution to oil theft that has gone unchecked for many years now.

“The positive results achieved by Tantita in so short a period are unbelievable. The stone, which the builders refused, has become the head of the corner. That, that stone has become a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense to offenders is no longer news. The illegal bunkerers have now come to the light that Tompolo is a rock of offense; if you stumble on it or kick against it; you are bound to suffer the consequences.

“I have said before that those opposed to the surveillance contract were the people ‘complicit’ in this nefarious activity. Their fear is losing their lifeline if the likes of Tompolo critically interrogate the causes of illegal oil bunkering and put a stop to their dastardly act of economic sabotage and national security breach.

“The nation’s security agencies should be ashamed of themselves for their dereliction of duty and for their connivance with these illegal bunkerers to assault our crude oil facilities. Their complicity is unfortunate. Where then is Nigeria’s security if those who swore to defend and protect our national assets, amongst others, have joined the bandwagon of thieves to desecrate the life wire of Nigeria’s economic and financial sustenance?

“My humble advice to Tompolo is to stay strong and focused in his surveillance contract job. The antics and attempts made on his life by these oil thieves, whose cups are now full should not sway him.

“He should also remember he is being used as cannon fodder, merely to be used as a valuable material to meet their needs after which they will desert him. Niger Delta has greater challenges posed by the Nigerian state.

“We should remember that he is a major stakeholder in finding solutions to those problems confronting the region in the hostile Nigerian political and economic landscape that they, unfortunately, found themselves.

‘My advice to NNPCL and through them to the Federal Government is that they should penalize all those found culpable and guilty in their investigations arising from these oil thefts, since we now know better, who the oil thieves are.”

My worries about Tompolo- Amaebi, ex-MOSIEND spokesman  

Former spokesperson of Movement for Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in Niger Delta MOSIEND, Clarkson Amaebi, stated: “Ordinarily, awarding a security contract of this magnitude to a private individual to guard our economic assets may look like an indictment on the competence of our military. But the huge military presence in the oil-rich region has not in any way cured oil theft in the Niger Delta, rather it escalated more sophisticated bunkering activities in the area.”

“The isolated petty crude oil theft in the area blossomed into a global syndicate where top brass of the government and the IOCs became active players in the bunkering business under the watchful eyes of the military.

“The contract awarded to Tompolo is good with successes recorded but I am not totally convinced that it is well-intended. I think the government awarded the contract to Tompolo because of the kpofire activities of the boys. Their belief and thinking are that he will only go for the little fries that operate kpofire.

Tompolo has disappointed them. He has also gone for the top brass. The recoveries made in recent times clearly show the connivance of highly placed individuals and professionals in the oil industry.

 ”I am eager for Tompolo and his boys; he needs to watch his back as there will definitely be a backlash from the criminals whose business he has destroyed,” he said.

He merits a national award – Alaowei, CHURAC

Chairman, Board of Trustees, Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, CHURAC, Mr. Cleric Alaowei, told one of our correspondents in Delta state: “The oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo’s company, TSSNL, by NNPCL has saved the nation’s petrodollar economy.”

“From the heart-wrenching manifestations of how the operatives of the private security broke into the criminal syndicates, across the Niger Delta region, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo has put no Nigerian in doubt that he has the country at heart.

“The oil pipeline contracts awarded to other private security firms since 2016 with no tangible results. The cartels in the illegal bunkering activities are so powerful that even previous governments were afraid to fight the menace. President Buhari just took the bull by the horn to engage Tompolo to fight this hydra-headed monster.

“We know it will not be easy for the ex-freedom fighter as the cabals will definitely fight back with devastating mayhem. God in His infinite mercy will guide and protect him. We heard that some criminal elements have attacked the operatives of TSSNL.

“We implore the security agents to beef up security around TSSNL surveillance teams. No harm should befall any of the personnel who are on this onerous national assignment.

“Now that NNPCL is making gains from Tompolo’s suicidal efforts, we passionately appeal to the company to make an upward review of the contract sum of the monthly N48B. Some persons have gotten this contract for a higher sum, but we have heard no result.

“Since Tompolo has proven to the world that he can fight the crude oil theft headlong, NNPCL should also appreciate his efforts by reviewing the contract sum for TSSNL in order to enable him to perform very well.

“Nigerians can now attest that the menace of crude oil theft has declined to the barest minimum, if not completely eradicated in the Niger Delta region, especially in Tompolo’s areas of operation, within a few months of taking up the job.

“Nigerian oil thieves and their foreign partners no longer have free oil to siphon at the high sea. A visit to the creeks has shown that oil theft is fast becoming outdated. We believe NNPCL will soon meet up with OPEC’s quota in the quantum of production.

“The company should release to the public, its daily outputs of the oil productions. There is no gainsaying the fact that the lull in illegal bunkering activities will boost the daily production of oil.

“We earnestly appeal to President Buhari to give Tompolo a national award. He deserved such honor from the country for his selfless contributions to better the nation. High Chief Government Ekpemupolo has done more than enough good to this country to be given national honor,” he said.