Published On: Fri, Aug 25th, 2023

Ex-Militants Demand Share Of Tompolo’s  $1.3bn Pipeline Surveillance Contract

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LAGOS AUGUST 25TH (URHOBOTODAY)-A coalition of former militant leaders and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region has written to President Bola Tinubu over the controversy trailing the move to seek re-approval of the $1.3 billion surveillance contract – with about $50 million monthly component – awarded to ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.

According to the coalition, in a petition dated 24th of August 24, 2023 and signed by Ezra Areo, the claims of achievements recorded by Tompolo, through Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, are misleading and part of an alleged misleading media propaganda against oil theft.

Ezra Aero, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) from Ondo State, argued that the alleged empty crude oil barges and vessels paraded before TV cameras and burnt in Delta State are all aimed at pushing the Federal government to approve the renewal of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited multi-million-dollar pipeline surveillance contract worth over $50 million monthly (N37.5 billion monthly).

In the petition, the coalition also alleged that despite the billions of dollars spent on the Federal government’s war on crude oil theft, including Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited’s multi-million-dollar pipeline surveillance contract, there has been no significant increase in the volume of crude oil sales, rather it keeps plummeting in many areas.

“The crude oil pipelines and vessels loading points displayed on TV were allegedly constructed and operated by Mr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (AKA Tompolo) prior to the proclamation of presidential amnesty in 2009 by Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Otherwise, given Tompolo’s public reputation, what sane person will spend hundreds of millions of naira and spend weeks and months to construct illegal crude Oil pipelines to syphon crude oil into vessels and barges right in Tompolo’s backyard in the creeks of Delta State? Nigerians should not be deceived because crude oil bunkering was allegedly Tompolo’s main source of revenue prior to amnesty in 2009.

“These multi-billion-dollar pipeline surveillance contracts were, for many years, handled by the late Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo, fondly called Capt. Hosa. After his death, the former Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, allegedly conspired with Mr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (AKA Tompolo) to continue to defraud Nigerians using the misleading propaganda of their war against crude oil theft and pipeline surveillance contracts.”

The petition alleged that “they divided the over $1.3 billion (N1 trillion) contracts, including the late Capt. Hosa’s contracts into the eastern corridor, central corridor, and western corridor. They awarded the western corridor to Tompolo’s associated company in favour of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited at the total negotiated contract sum of $370,807,173.00 for One year.

“The eastern corridor was awarded through the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III associated company in favour of Ocean Marine Security Limited (OMS) for the sum of $370,807,173.00 only for One year, and contract ceiling cost of $152,107,065.00, bringing the contract to a total sum of $522,914,238.00.

“The central corridor contract worth the same hundreds of millions of dollars, which was for Bayelsa State, was allegedly influenced away from Bayelsa indigenes by Timipre Sylva, the then Minister of State Petroleum, and was awarded to his proxy, Tompolo’s relative, Mr. Matthew Tonlagha from Delta state. Hence, Timipre Sylva deprived Bayelsa State indigenes of their share from the hundreds of millions of dollars in pipeline surveillance contract, which would have created thousands of jobs and increased the State’s revenues from taxation, hotel accommodation, transportation, food purchasing power of indigenes etc.

“These individuals and beneficiaries of the over $1.3 billion (N1 trillion) contracts are all supporters of your opposition for which the INEC voting records in their little communities, wards, and Local Government areas will reveal, even though these individuals are all traditional rulers in their communities and local government areas.

“In order to hedge their political future, they supported the opposition during the presidential campaigns in anticipation of a Tinubu loss and used Mr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (AKA Tompolo) to allegedly fund the opposition against President Tinubu with over $30 million. Tompolo worked closely with the former Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, and Samuel Ogboku, the Managing Director of the NDDC.

“After allegedly spending over $30 million supporting the opposition and working against the Tinubu presidential campaign, ironically, they are still in position using the NNPCL, NDDC and the multi-million dollar pipeline surveillance contracts to reclaim more than the $30 million they spent in their failed attempt to defeat President Tinubu.

“Tompolo allegedly nominated Mr. Joshua Maciver, who was recently exposed as a convicted Sea Pirate, Terrorist and Jailbreaker to Timipre Sylva as his running mate for the Bayelsa State November governorship polls with an alleged promise to give Timipre Sylva N3 billion in support of his campaign.

“Also, we are highly disappointed that our beloved and highly respected National Security Adviser, Nahu Ribadu, was tricked by Mr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (AKA Tompolo) informants embedded in the various government agencies, including the NSA’s office, into visiting Oporoza Gbaramatu Kingdom to visit Mr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (AKA Tompolo). Such visits and decisions undermine the office of the National Security Adviser.

“We are fully aware that Mr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (AKA Tompolo) uses the Niger Delta agitation as a means to enrich himself with millions of dollars (Billions of Naira) while his Ijaw people remain in abject poverty. He plants highly paid informants in the Presidency, NNPCL, NSA’s Office and other security and government agencies to promote his image as the voice of the Niger Delta region while denigrating and promoting falsehood against other ex-militant leaders from the region.

“For example, Mr. Goodluck Ebelo at the NSA’s office is an allegedly planted informant to promote Tompolo’s image to the NSA and other highly placed officials, while denigrating and promoting falsehood against other ex-militant leaders from the region. Tompolo has planted informants in government agencies, who are lobbying to have his loyalists appointed as the amnesty programme’s administrator such as Dennis Otuaro and others.

“May we remind you that during the 2023 presidential campaign, major ex-militant leaders from the region met with Dr. Samuel Ogboku, the Managing Director of the NDDC, to sponsor certain campaign programmes for Bola Ahmed Tinubu across the Niger Delta States. Ogboku promised to get back to them but later dumped the idea after consulting with Chief Timipre Sylva. It is on record that these ex-militant leaders were sent to the NDDC MD, Samuel Ogboku, by the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana O. Umana, to support Tinubu’s presidential campaign in the South-South region, but to the delegation’s surprise, the NDDC MD refused to support the campaign after allegedly speaking with his boss, the former Minister, Timipre Sylva, as they were counting on the opposition to defeat Tinubu.

“It is also on record that between Timipre Sylva as the then-Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Samuel Ogboku, the Managing Director of the NDDC, both of them including Tompolo could not win their wards or local government in Bayelsa State and Delta State for the Tinubu’s campaign during the Presidential election. They allowed the opposition to win it all, so how can such people, who allegedly sabotaged Tinubu’s presidential campaign, be rewarded with appointments and multi-million dollar contracts?

“In view of the above expose, it doesn’t seem right that these individuals, who allegedly sabotaged your Presidential campaign and secretly sponsored your opposition, are left in office as Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers to reap where they never sowed.

“Therefore, I humbly call on you, Sir, to decentralise the award of all pipeline surveillance and maintenance contracts across the different states in the Niger Delta region to reputable ex-militant leaders, who worked with you and supported your plans for our nation from the onset during your primaries, and also that you tread with caution as these individuals may not have the best interest of your administration at heart.”

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