Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
IT appears the N48 billion yearly (N4billion monthly) pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Chief Government Ekpemupkolo also know as Tompolo will soon be split to accommodate other interest.
Stonix News recalled that the surveillance contract was awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) during the administration of Muhammadu Buhari in August 2022.
The contract is due for renewal this month amid a gradual build up of anxiety in the camp of the ex-warlord, as it was gathered that of Tompolo is being reviewed.
Feelers have it that some interested parties within in the Presidency have somewhat perfected plans to split the contract between Tompolo and another warlord, Asari Dokubo who had earlier paid President Bola Tinubu a visit in Aso Rock after swearing-in.
CEO of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, while speaking at the 49th session of the state house briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on August 29, 2022, had said the decision was to engage private security firms was to man Nigeria’s oil pipeline network nationwide due to massive oil theft.
Kyari had averred that it was not the first time that individuals within the Niger Delta region were awarded contracts for oil and has pipeline surveillance.
A proposal is said to have been prepared by close confidants of President Tinubu to review the contract and it is already awaiting presidential approval.
A source from the presidency in the know of the development said the issue of pipeline surveillance contract is sikentjy topical at the presidency.
“One of the key issues silently looked into was the pipeline contract that was awarded to Tompolo.
“You know there were so many opinions on the matter and it almost created another round of friction in the Niger Delta.
“Some wanted an outright cancellation of the contract, honestly.
“But to be sincere, there was nothing wrong in having the private sector participate in protecting our national assets.
“However, the volume is so enormous that it could breed another round of crisis.
“Again, we need to be careful not to fully depend on a private individual without third eyes.
“So Mr. President directed a silent move to review the whole arrangement.
“It is not as if the president does not want it to continue, but he wants a situation whereby everything that is done seems to carry all stakeholders along.
“So, we have devised a means that will be all-inclusive of critical stakeholders but they must also act the way Tompolo is acting to shore up our production output.
“There is nothing political in the arrangement that we are floating and it is already awaiting the approval of the President,” the source was quoted as saying.
The primary beneficiary of the split is mooted to be Tinubu’s staunch supporter in the Niger Delta region, Alhaji Dokubo Asari.
Recall the ex-convict is rumoured to have been spareheading the agitation to split the surveillance contract awarded Tompolo for his benefit.
Dokubo’s grouses against Tompolo is believed to be his preference for PDP’s Atiku Abubakar in the last presidential election.
“Dokubo has a genuine case, but his approach may be wrong, no doubt. His insistence that Tompolo does not deserve to be that much compensated is a very genuine argument.
“I was among those interfaced with Tompolo in the build-up to the presidential election. We had an agreement to work together but he reneged at the last minute.
“Even at that, Mr President still made a final push for him to deliver Omo- Agege but he did the worst. So how can someone like that now turn around to be the chief celebrant of the game? That is Dokubo’s argument,” the source was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Tompolo’s pipeline surveillance firm, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL) has, in the last one year, recorded some great feats in the fight against oil theft in his area of jurisdiction with the latest being the intercepted MT Praisel being guided and guarded by officers of the Nigeria Navy.
The vessel was intercepted after TSSNL got intel that the crude oil-laden ship was headed a wrong direction with questionable papers.