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Oil theft: Tompolo wins as Reps back pipeline surveillance contract

By Adamu Abuh, Abuja
10 December 2022   |   4:35 am
The House of Representatives has applauded the partnership between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and Tantita Security Service Nigeria Ltd owned by Oweizide Ekpemupolo (a.k.a) Tompolo to secure oil facilities...

oil theft

• Applaud Involvement Of Local People To Curb Menace
• Advise Against Burning Of Seized Boats, Other Items
• I Won’t Disappoint FG, Tompolo Assures Lawmakers
• PAP Panel Hails Ndiomu’s Appointment To Probe Crude Theft

The House of Representatives has applauded the partnership between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and Tantita Security Service Nigeria Ltd owned by Oweizide Ekpemupolo (a.k.a) Tompolo to secure oil facilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason, who led the high-powered delegation of the House on a three-day visit to the creeks/riverine areas of Delta State for oversight function, remarked that the initiative had led to an increase in the volume of crude oil production by the country.

The lawmakers commended the Federal Government, Navy and Tompolo’s firm for taking the bull by the horns to tackle offshore oil theft.

Last Tuesday, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, Bala Wunti, disclosed that Nigeria’s crude oil production was recovering, noting specifically that it was climbing back to about 1.6 million barrels per day.

Wunti, who made the disclosure at the 11th Practical Nigerian Content forum in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, added that Nigeria’s oil production as at last Tuesday was 1. 6 million barrels per day from 937, 000 barrels per day reported in September.

Akpatason acknowledged that the successes recorded in the crude oil production were a result of the signing of the pipeline surveillance contract with Tantita Security Services Limited.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to Tompolo in the course of the tour, Akpatason said: “Our mission is to evaluate the situation to be able to make contribution in legislative terms towards ameliorating the situation, towards enhancing the capacity of this nation to produce and sell oil, to be able to fund the budget and to promote development of both human capital and infrastructure of this country.

“In the course of this journey, we have visited different sites, including oil production facilities, pipelines, well-heads and flow stations. As a result of the recent partnership between Tantita, your company, and NNPC, we have seen significant improvement in the ability of this country to produce hydrocarbon, which basically is the major foreign earning for this country.

“As concerned citizens, we believe whatever that can be done to ensure improvement in the nation’s capacity to earn income for funding development, and reducing borrowing which has become a thing of concern to many Nigerians, that effort must be supported.

“And that is exactly what is happening just now. We felt, in the course of our tour of the industry, that we have to come here to appreciate you and urge you to step up and do even more. We have seen the improvement in the creeks, in the land areas.

“But there is still more to be done if we can achieve currently what we are experiencing in this area. Also, in the offshore, Nigeria will have no reason to borrow money to fund budget and projects that we so dearly need as a nation. So, we appreciate you for that, and we have also seen how much work that is taking place in those areas that we have traversed in the course of our journey to this place. Our interactions with members of these communities showed that they are currently enjoying a very reasonable amount of stability as a result of the improved security situation.

“Some of the community people told us how free they feel to go about their fishing activities. It tells us that when the local people are given the mandate to gather information and support the security forces, and also help combat crime in their locality, it goes a long way to solve the problem.

“Because of insecurity, a lot of people feel uncomfortable to go about their business activities. The oil companies complained about spending so much money to fix pipelines when they are vandalized. All of this add to the cost of production and reduces what gets to the Federal Government for development.”

Akpatason said every effort that had been made or was being made towards ensuring improved security in the country must be appreciated and supported. He also applauded the efforts being made by the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies in the bid to safeguard oil facilities in the area.

The lawmaker urged the stakeholders to desist from destruction of boats and other seized items, proposing that such items should rather be integrated into the government assets.

In his response, Tompolo urged the lawmakers to come up with necessary legislative instruments and policies that would sustain the gains recorded so far.

“The leader of the delegation and all the honourable members, I thank all of you very well for coming. I will not disappoint you. We will do our part and I still want all of you to do your own part over there,” he urged the visitors.

While giving insight into the oversight function, the member representing Burutu Federal Constituency of Delta State, Julius Pondi, expressed satisfaction with the results achieved so far in the oil producing communities across Niger Delta.

“For some of them who have not been to the creeks before, it’s an eye opener for them. They saw the crisis that we are passing through and the peculiar terrain and what the people in the Niger Delta suffer. And of course you journalists who went along with us, you must have learnt and seen some things new. That is the terrain where we come from as a people.

“I’m very happy for this trip because the essence was to interface with the chairman of Tantita Security company on the positive antecedent since he was awarded the contract and I think from what he told us too, so much was learnt and there is hope for our country that we are going to move forward.

“I am a riverine boy. If you have been here some two months or three months ago, prior to Tantita coming to play, you will know what I’m about to say. The degradation that we suffer, the spill, the aquatic damage, no farming, no fishing, but just within three months, we have seen a clean environment. That shows it’s a departure from what it used to be. So, we are making progress.

“But what is more important is sustaining this progress. I commend the NNPC Limited led by Mele Kyari for partnering with a non-state actor to achieve result, improvement has been made and production has increased. We can now confidently say that we are meeting the OPEC quota. And then it will continue to rise as long as the full cooperation exists.

“But I must also mention that it’s a business of partners in progress. Nigerian Navy must also be commended as well as other security agencies, but particularly the Nigerian Navy for their contributions. I want them to know that it’s not that they are not doing their work very well that Tompolo was contracted, No.

“It’s just like people that are agitating for state police. The essence is that the people know the terrain more. If I give state police to the people, they will know the terrain more, so they know how to tackle it. It’s a similar case, because if you bring the Nigerian military and Navy to guard pipelines, where are they coming from? Many of them are from the North, how can they know where to go? That is why perhaps the NNPC looked and said let’s employ the people that are very familiar with the terrain and result is being achieved.

“So, the Nigerian Navy, the NNPC, Tantita people, National Assembly, we are all working together. We have gone on oversight and seen by ourselves what improvements have been made. The overall goal is that we ensure that Nigerian crude improve by way of production. We are happy that it has been achieved. And if you ask me again, we are making progress,” the lawmaker stressed.

Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Musa Sarki Adar, also affirmed that the existing cooperation would help in overcoming various challenges, including oil theft, in the oil industry especially in Niger Delta.

“Most especially the way he spoke to us by enumerating the challenges he has been facing which we have all listed and we are going to come up with some inovations on how to improve what he has started. I use this opportunity to call on him to sustain what he has started, recording success,” Adar said.

He urged the monarch to justify the confidence reposed in him by the authorities of the NNPC Limited who awarded the contract for security of oil pipelines across the Niger Delta.

“This is a challenge that has been militating against this sector over the time, and despite all the efforts and attempts by the previous and successive administrations, it is only now that at least we have seen some success. I urge you not to relent in your efforts by carrying along all the people in this area, especially the youths, for whom you are providing jobs.

“I also call on the youths to realise the importance of this assignment in which they are being provided jobs to be gainfully employed, to appease this area and to enhance the development of this country. It is only when we are living peacefully and when we are secure that any development that we are yearning for, both federal and state governments, can be achieved.

“We as members of Parliament of the 9th Assembly assure you that we are going to cooperate with you. We are going to give all necessary support to all the government agencies that are involved to secure these facilities,” he stressed.

The 24-man delegation included Mayowa Akinfolarin, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, Julius Pondi, Sergius Ogun and Boma Goodhead. Meanwhile, the Strategic Communication Committee (SCC) of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has described the appointment of PAP’s Interim Administrator, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, as the head of the 11-man special investigative panel on oil theft as a demonstration of his competence.

Speaking in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday, the Chairman of SCC and ex-agitator, Nature Kieghe Dumale, said the new assignment was an eloquent testimony that Ndiomu was successfully discharging his roles at the amnesty office and making the Ijaw nation proud.

Dumale said the Federal Government was aware that some of the attacks on Ndiomu emanated from disgruntled elements, who were unhappy that he mustered the courage and determination to sanitise PAP. 

While congratulating Ndiomu on his new assignment, Dumale thanked the Federal Government for reposing its confidence on the amnesty boss, saying he would also show commitment to his new task. 

“We believe that the Federal Government had carefully assessed the performance of Ndiomu in PAP, x-rayed his dogged commitment to reposition the programme without fear or favour and decided to entrust him with this sensitive task as the chairman of a special investigative panel on oil theft.

“We appreciate the Federal Government for observing the positive roles Ndiomu has played to realise the mandate of PAP despite efforts by his detractors and enemies of the region.

“We congratulate him and say to him that the only man who will not face battles and the only man who will not have challenges is the man who is doing the wrong thing.”

Describing Ndiomu as a great son of the Niger Delta, Dumale appealed to all stakeholders in the region to keep encouraging and supporting him.

“We thank the stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, opinion leaders, traditional rulers, delegates of the PAP and members of the Fourth Estate of the realm, who have stood by him. We say that corrections and observations he is making have made the PAP to be on track.”

The Director of Mobilisation from Bayelsa State, Tonye Bob, commended the National Security Adviser (NSA) for giving Ndiomu the well-deserved appointment.

Following unbridled oil theft, Nigeria has not been able to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production quota in the last one year. The country’s current quota of 1.830 million barrels per day took effect in September 2022.

Also, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of the oil sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country fell to 5.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

The Bureau, in its GDP Sector Report, had said that the oil sector’s contribution of 5.7 per cent in Q3, 2022 was a decline when compared to a 6.3 per cent real GDP contribution recorded in Q2, 2022.

The report stated that Nigeria’s average crude oil production in Q3, 2022 was 1.2 million barrels per day (including condensates), lower than Q3, 2021’s 1.6 million barrels per day, a 23.6 per cent decline.

A recent statement by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning also revealed that the excess crude account crashed by 89 per cent in the last eight years, falling from $4.1 billion in November 2014 to $472,513 in the same period of 2022. The balance as of November 23, 2022, stood at $472,513.64.

The Federal Government, in its bid to ramp up oil production and revenue generation by curbing oil theft, awarded the N48 billion a year pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo’s firm last August.