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 Niger Delta ex-agitators demand pipeline surveillance contract

Niger Delta ex-agitators demand pipeline surveillance contract

The Coalition of Isoko Youth Groups and Ex-Agitators has criticised President Bola Tinubu for not awarding them a contract for pipeline surveillance in the Niger Delta.

The coalition asked President Tinubu to award them a contract to provide surveillance for pipelines as already done for some other groups.

The Coalition on Sunday shortly after a meeting with stakeholders in Oleh, Isoko South Local Area, appealed to President Tinubu to implement the Senate’s recommendation for Isoko Youths to be separately engaged by the Federal Government in the pipeline surveillance contract.

Conveners of the meeting Mr. Iteveh Nur’ Ekpokpobe and Mr. Karo Edor, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, stressed that although the previous contract was awarded after a series of considerations, it became obvious to the government that it was awarded with limited information available to the government at the time.

A former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, for February 25, 2023, Presidential Election, Adewole Adebayo had criticised FG’s use of private security companies instead of conventional ones for surveillance of pipelines in the Delta region.

Adebayo also stated that it would be ideal to reinforce security institutions that were established under the constitution, such as the army, police, and other security professionals.

The former presidential candidate of the SDP disclosed this against the backdrop of contracting individuals and private security organisations to render surveillance of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta due to the vandals’ attack by the FG.

Speaking exclusively to The PUNCH, the former presidential candidate said “I believe in strengthening state institutions like our constitutionally established armed forces, the police, and other security agencies.”

Remarking further he pointed out “When I was running for president, I campaigned for the restoration of our security services to their legal and constitutional roles. I opposed their substitution with private contractors.”

Also speaking on the development, the Chairman of the Arewa Economic Forum, Ibrahim Dandakata, decried government’s failure to properly utilise conventional security in the country to combat oil thieves.

Dandakata, however, argued that if the experiment would provide the desired result, there is no harm in doing that to checkmate the incidents.

He said “I think it came out of the failure of the conventional security agencies to arrest the matter, so if the ‘experiment’ will yield the desired results there’s no harm in it but it should be used as a stopgap measure.

The forum’s chairman further urged the government to work out measures that would develop the capacities of conventional securities in carrying out their constitutional responsibility.

The Isoko Youth Groups and Ex-Agitators said, “The FGN should work towards enhancing the capabilities and capacity of our conventional security agencies to do their constitutional duties.”

According to the group, “sometime in August 2022 a contract for the surveillance of oil pipeline in the entire region was awarded to Tantita Security owned by the family of Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) an Ijaw from Oporoza in Niger Delta, without recourse to any Isoko or Urhobo representation, body or council.

“Again without consultations a subcontract to cover for the pipelines in Urhobo Nation was awarded to Zane Energy Limited owned by the Family of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who are Urhobos. However, this contract was awarded with a spur into the Isoko axis.

It argued that The move was interpreted in its entirety to be a total disregard of Isoko Nation and its vibrant youths in their capacity to man surveillance on crude oil facilities in the area adding that the awards of these subcontracts, eleven Isoko youth groups came together in a coalition to exhaust all legal channels to press home demands germane to the perceived marginalization.

“As part of our engagements, several letters were written to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Office of the National Security Adviser, and the National Assembly amongst others.

“Following our efforts, the Nigerian Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions headed by Sen. Ayo Akinyulere, on instructions of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, held on January 28, 2023, on the issues raised. The hearing was attended by the conveners of the coalition of Isoko Youths, President Generals of Isoko Communities in Bayelsa State, representative of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, and others.

“The Senate committee recommended at the end of the hearing, the need for the NNPC and the Federal Government to engage Isoko youths and stakeholders for keeping the peace and protecting crude oil installations in their areas ever since the beginning of exploration till date.

The coalition urged the Federal Government to encourage the peaceful demeanor of the Isoko Nation and to reward their legal agitations for the sustenance of peace and order in the region.(PUNCH NEWS)

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