The pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has caused trepidation in the Niger Delta.
Tompolo is supposed to lead the assurance of oil pipelines across the six South States – Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Stream, Delta, Edo, Rivers.
Notwithstanding an underlying solid position, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration engaged with Tompolo because of expanding oil theft in the area.
The deal was sealed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation).
Nigeria was producing around 1.6 million barrels each day as of July 2021. Nonetheless, by July 2022, the result had dropped to around 1.1 million.
The troubling 500,000 deficiency constrained the country’s leadership to go about as it looks funds to finance the proposed 2023 budget of N19.76trillion.
The government is focusing on almost N2trillion from oil-related sources for the budget prefaced on 70 dollars per barrel and an exchange rateof N436 to the dollar.
However, the choice to recruit the ex-commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) provoked former militant leaders.
Top on the list of those angry are HRH Ateke Tom (Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom) and Mujahid Asari Dokubo (Edi Abali 1 of Kalabari), whose allies have threatened war.
Dokubo has been more vocal, addressing why someone else was utilized to watch the 83 kilometers of pipelines in his Kalabari territory of Rivers.
Tompolo is from Delta. The chief priest of the Egbesu deity is a High Chief of Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Realm.
Prominent Itsekiri leader, Chief Mrs Rita Lori-Ogbebor accepts the authorities were wrong to have given the pipeline security contract to just Tompolo.
The Igba of Warri Kingdom said the insecurity Nigerians ought to stress over “is not the type going on in the North, but that of the Niger Delta”.
“What we have today will be a child’s play if the insecurity fully manifests. If it has not, it will soon do so in another few months”, Rita Lori affirmed.
Yet, an Ijaw leader, Dr. Clarkson Aribogha said violence will not settle the issue, and encouraged Dokubo and others to bury the hatchet with Tompolo.
Cautioning against “wrong step”, he inquired as to whether the old Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) leader is battling an “Ijaw struggle, Kalabari struggle or personality egoistic struggle”.
Aribogha further informed Dokubo that the government doesn’t give contracts to an uninterested person or did not apply.
“Contract award is never by political appointment or civil service recruitment, but based on fulfilling requirements – integrity, capacity, trustworthiness and acceptance.”
Aribogha added that the government would not give anybody a job “by coercion” but on recommendation “especially on security matters”.
INFOXCLUSIVE accumulated that Niger Delta leaders are revitalizing to prevent a major clash that could disturb the general peace in the zone.
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) set up a committee to investigate the conflict over the contract and would deal with the report to ensure a genial arrangement.
Last week, INC President Benjamin Okaba held separate meetings with Tompolo, Dokubo and Lord Ateke.
The Professor of sociology appealed to them to sheathe their sword for the sake of the people and not to endanger efforts on revenue generation.
“The federal government is following events and has urged influential and respected personalities to end the squabble by reaching out to warring factions”, a source hinted Sunday night.
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