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FP surveillance: Promoting national interest over personal angst – Part 2


Oil rig

I find curious, the claim by Eraskorp that it was not in charge of Operation and Maintenance (O & M) services in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30; and that a surveillance contractor cannot be held liable for production shut-ins due to technical hitches. Equally curious is Eraskorp’s claim that the NNPC was fully aware that the so-called losses had nothing to do with the performance of its contract but rather “a convenient excuse for their (NNPC’s) own misconduct.”

The position stated supra reinforces my earlier submission that the activities of Eraskorp and the operators of OML 30 in and around the matrix of the TFP should be subjected to a high-powered investigation or criminal investigation by relevant security agencies. There must be more to the loss of 11 million barrels of crude oil than meets the eye. The mischief in the incident must be dealt with in the national interest; and, if any company or companies is or are found to have committed malfeasance, such should be sanctioned and made to refund the lost revenue.

Furthermore, Eraskorp’s claim that OMS has a history of shady dealings is untenable in the light of its verifiable capacity and track-records. Eraskorp’s reference to OMS’ former crude transportation contract by marine vessels from 2010 to 2015 on which an online news platform, Premium Times, did a report wherein it was alleged that billions of naira were siphoned, demonstrates how uninformed Eraskorp is about the contract that OMS, in a media publication -rejoinder to the Premium Times report – had laid out the facts.

My take is that if OMS had committed any infraction(s) or failed to deliver on the former contract or if it does not have the capacity to deliver uncommon values, which the company claims is the crux of its commitment, I doubt if the NNPC will continue to patronize it. It thus beggars belief that Eraskorp would, in its fancy, claim that OMS has no significant record of performance or authentic investments in the Nigerian economy. These Eraskorp’s claims fall flat in the face of adocumentary on OMS’ effort at safeguarding the life-blood of our nation, which I had the opportunity of watching on NTA and Channels TV recently.  It is therefore not in the place of a grieving contractor, who lost on the TFP surveillance contract to a stronger and better-capacitated service provider, to provide any objective appraisal.

Again, Eraskorp’s tale that Captain Okunbo’s “notable achievement” is the liquidation of Skye Bank is laughable. How? What was the correlation between OMS and Skye Bank or between Okunbo and Skye Bank? That claim is injurious falsehood. Eraskorp’s further reference to failed acquisitions of NITEL/MTEL, Ibadan and Yola Discos was either from an uninformed mind or a deliberately skewed account from an entity that is economical with the truth.

Overall, the proposed contract to OMS is essentially different in form and content from the old contract executed by Eraskorp. Whereas, Eraskorp was exempted from liabilities in the old contract, OMS, in the proposed contract, is obligated to absorb any breach or breakage to the pipeline, resulting in loss of crude oil.  That should logically account for the difference in the costs of the contracts.

It is, indeed, non-sequitur for Eraskorp to claim that OMS is waging a sinister war against the NNPC’s Joint Venture Partners in OML 30; but rather it is the collaborators and their act of economic sabotage of the nation through the despoliation of the TFP that are ill-at-ease and striving to discredit the proposed TFP contract by the NNPC to OMS, which is the most capacitated of all the pipeline security providers in the Niger Delta region.

Credible company information has indicated OMS has about 48 marine vessels; while in the area of pipeline movement of crude, it has, on the basis of letter of comfort, replaced damaged pipelines from Escravos to Warri and Bonny to Port Harcourt, restoring them to a state of optimal usage with its resources before it was invited to negotiate the contract. This is the reason the NNPC has and will always approach OMS (which has also provided services to Shell and co.) for surveillance contracts.

Other issues raised by Eraskorp are neither here nor there. But one thing is that the NNPC would not be a party to negotiated arrangements to discount national interest in the management of our hydro-carbon resources and the critical assets that support their exploitation and exploration.

Also, it is interesting that Eraskorp that is not keen on being investigated for the loss of 11 million barrels of crude oil, has made another allegation about a surreptitious award of oil bloc to Captain Okunbo with a call on the EFCC and the National Assembly to probe the award. To me, in the absence of concrete evidence of infractions, I consider the allegation spurious and a figment of the imagination of Eraskorp under the leadership of Maxwell Okoh who, as alleged in some quarters, is imprudently angling for the position of Chairman of the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Finally, I support a comprehensive investigation into the loss of crude oil through TFP before the proposed contract to OMS. In attacking deliberate shenanigans, OMS has not disrupted the security of the Niger Delta region. It has massively integrated the communities in the matrix along the pipelines. Its Chairman, Captain Okunb, has been very passionate about the development of the region. He has patriotically proved that he has what it takes to deliver uncommon values in the provision of surveillance for critical oil assets in the region. In an environment that demands integrity and commitment to delivering on mandates, the NNPC and other stakeholders have validated their trust in OMS’ ability to keep fidelity to contractual obligations.

• Prince Orlu, is youth leader and political activist, wrote from Port Harcourt

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