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 Oil theft in Niger Delta

Oil theft in Niger Delta

The national body of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), literally moved its secretariat to Oporoza, traditional headquarters, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, on Saturday, March 3, 2024. Just as the union honoured Chief Government Ekpemupolo, Aka Tompolo, ex-militant warlord, with its Internal Security Meritorious Award, Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), his outfit came into focus again.

In 2022 Tantita commenced surveillance operations along the Niger Delta creeks, to checkmate the increasing oil theft in the region. The award brought into the fore one more time, the impact the security has recorded in protecting the nation’s critical assets. Stakeholders thereafter, put Tompolo’s efforts under critical review.

Some believed Tantita did shore up quantum of crude oil production per day, leading to appreciable improvement in revenue generation by Federal Government. NUJ National President, Chris Iziguzo, said the award was in recognition of the “sterling contributions” of Tompolo and Tantita in the on going campaign against crude oil theft:

“Somebody has risen to the occasion and gathered an array of young men who have taken it upon themselves to help this country continue to survive as a peaceful nation, united and continue to fend for its people. 

“And that is the man that has, to a very large extent, substantially, helped us address the issue of crude oil theft. That is one thing that has occupied our national life over time. By his commitment, dedication and diligence, Nigeria, as a country, has to a very large extent, reduced the activities of men of the underworld who have consistently engaged in pilfering, taking our common patrimony for their personal gains.”

Iziguzo, came to Oporoza alongside Delta State Council Exco and selected journalists from Abuja, Asaba and Warri. He said it was to honour Tompolo, the man who has made the feat of safe guarding oil installations in the region possible.

This view was, however, sharply contradicted by another security outfit, Warri Urban Security Network (WUSN). It argued that the NUJ award was coming rather too early: “The nation is still grappling with issues of fluctuating crude oil production per day going by the recent report of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on oil capacity production of its member nations.”

WUSN chairman, Chief Frank Onoriode, although acknowledged the efforts of Tonmpolo’s security outfit in reducing the menace of illegal bunkering activities in the region, he insisted that “a lot still needed to be done by the various security agencies and the privately owned outfits to put an end to crude oil theft in the country.”

Notwithstanding, Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Dennis Guwor, congratulated Tompolo, for deserving the NUJ award: “I celebrate a boss, leader and uncle, High Chief (Dr) Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (Alias Tompolo), over a well-deserved award by the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.”

The South-South Professionals and Transparency Initiative (SSPTI), applauded the NUJ for considering Tantita worthy of the award: “It wouldn’t have come at any better than this, considering the role it has played in curbing crude oil theft in the region and improving the nation’s revenue from crude sales at a point like this when we are going through the most difficult economic challenges.”

SSPTI chairman, Dr. Ugochukwu Alozie, described the award as “very significant based on the fact that it is coming from a body like the NUJ whose duty it is to build a better society through constructive criticisms and objective analysis of government policies and programmes as well as individuals and private sector initiatives towards driving a sustainable economy.”

Tompolo said he would do everything to end the “criminal theft of the nation’s crude oil resources” in the Niger Delta region: “The country is in serious need of support to stop the activities of those sabotaging the economy for personal gains.”

There are had been series of awards and recognitions by individuals and corporate bodies to appreciate the efforts of the security outfit.

While the nation continues to experience an upward revenue generation in the oil sector due to the activities of Tantita, Nigerians are waiting to see the sustainability of the on going war against crude oil theft in the country. (The Sun)

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