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A’Ibom ex-militants want Tompolo’s surveillance contract revoked

By John Akubo (Abuja) and Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh (Uyo)
29 August 2022   |   4:06 am
Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants’ Forum has risen against the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to ex-agitator, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, saying they have been shortchanged by such move.
Tompolo

Tompolo

• Threaten shutdown of oil facilities
• HOSTCOM applauds Buhari’s statesmanship

Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants’ Forum has risen against the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to ex-agitator, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, saying they have been shortchanged by such move.

This was contained in a petition signed by the Coordinator, Johnson Solomon, and Secretary, Godwin Edohoaqua, to President Muhammadu Buhari and copied to security agencies.

In the petition, they described the award of such contract to a sectional former leader of agitators, while oil pipelines criss-cross their land, without their involvement, as the height of marginalisation. They also cited the environmental degradation in their communities due to oil exploration.

According to the ex-militants, oil production in the state will be shut down in protest, if the Federal Government doesn’t revoke the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo.

The Federal Government had, last Monday, renewed a N4 billion monthly contract for the surveillance of oil pipelines to former leader of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

The petition called on the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to revoke the contract with Tompolo to accommodate former agitators from Akwa Ibom.

“In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan was about to hand over to President Muhammadu Buhari, ex-militants from Akwa Ibom, in our numbers, protested to the National Assembly against similar contract which did not accommodate us.

“Leadership of the National Assembly with heads of security agencies received our protest letter and assured us that Akwa Ibom ex-militants would be accommodated in future contracts,” they noted.

HOWEVER, Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) has commended Buhari for awarding the contract through the NNPC to Tompolo.

The HOSTCOM President Dr. Benjamin Tamaranebi, stated, yesterday, in Abuja that Nigeria’s national asset will be secured, even more, by engaging the host communities in the protection of the facilities.

His words: “We thank President Buhari for the political will and statesmanship in considering Section 257 of the 2021 Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), to award pipelines surveillance contract to our own, who has, among others, the competence and capacity.

According to him, this will go a long to ending the way Nigeria has been bleeding profusely through oil theft and the oil-producing states’ environmental degradation, leading to destruction of livelihood and the irreparable health disorder killing the people.

He referred to the reality of PIA, which may cause harm to the communities as contained in Section 257 (2 and 3), which states that the host community’s yearly three per cent operating expenses would be deducted, if any facility or infrastructure is damaged in any community in the accounting year to the extent of the damage.

He added: “With the contract awarded to Tompolo, we are confident that all the communities will be involved in the security of their communities and will not be deceived by any man or group of people from outside to cause mayhem to the pipelines.

“This is one of the best things that has happened to the host communities, to stop the menace of crude oil theft and facilities vandalism that have caused the destruction of critical national assets over the period of time.”