The Federal Government has renewed a multi-million dollars pipeline surveillance contract to a former militant leader Government Ekpemupolo (well known as Tompolo).
The Nation reports that the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited signed the deal with Tompolo, who is also the Commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), to end illegal bunkering, illegal refining and other forms of oil theft in the Niger Delta.
A source close to Tompolo, who spoke in confidence, said the deal was worth over N4 billion monthly. However, the figure and details of the contract could not be immediately confirmed officially as of press time.
The source said the former MEND commander, known for his creek credibility, will monitor and oversee other surveillance contracts, contractors and their activities in the entire Niger Delta.
“The government merely reviewed and restored his old contract.
“Before the cancellation of his contract, the arrangements he put in place tackled illegal bunkering and increased production quota to over two million barrels per day.
“But the new government cancelled the contract, declared him wanted and he was later exonerated of all wrongdoings.
The source said the new deal was brokered by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and some top officials of NNPC Limited, including the Group Executive Director, Upstream, Adokiye Tombomelye.
He said NNPC Limited, as a new profit-making venture, was determined to curb all illegal activities affecting its operations and making it run at a loss every month.
The source said Tompolo held a crucial stakeholders’ meeting in his Oporoza country home in the Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State on Wednesday.
He said over 5,000 stakeholders from the Niger Delta, especially Bayelsa State, turned up for the meeting.
According to the source, in attendance were former presidents of the Ijaw Youths Council Worldwide, Dr Chris Ekiyor, Udengs Eradiri and Eric Omare; priests of Egbesu (Ijaw religious organisation), led by Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei; MEND unit commander Eris Paul (also known as General Oguboss); leaders of all youth groups in the Niger Delta and heads of notorious cult groups in the region.
Credit: The Nation