The Ijaw Patriotic League has backed the federal government in ignoring calls to revoke the oil pipeline protection contract awarded to a company in which High Chief Ekpemupolo Tompolo has a stake.
The IPL’s National Coordinator, Jasper Eritei, described the federal government’s decision to hire a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta to help secure the country’s scandalously breached pipelines, well thought out and in the public interest.
The group noted that it is the government’s responsibility to make critical decisions to ensure that the general interest of society is protected.
The National Coordinator said in a statement Friday that the sentencing and protests that followed the award of the contract to the specific company should alert the federal government and even the NNPC that the right decision has been made to prevent oil theft in the Niger Delta.
The theft of the country’s oil supplies, Eritei said, has taken on a startling dimension at a time when the government is borrowing to run the country and needs to be rightly dealt with, just as the government is doing.
He stressed that the hugely wealthy criminals who run the billions of Naira oil theft rings will use proxies to avoid a serious solution.
He further stated that the attacks on the contract should not surprise the government, as oil thieves who have deployed billions of Naira oil on tankers and personnel to criminally loot the country’s oil supplies will not back down without a fight.
He noted that the orchestrated blackmail is only the first expression of despair by this deadly oil cabal.
He stressed that with Tompolo’s track record in NIMASS, where a company he was interested in securing the waterways, the people behind the massive sabotage of the Nigerian economy will not feel comfortable.
The group wondered why of the five companies involved, only this particular company generated disapproval.
He further stressed that the same pipeline protection contract had been handled by companies belonging to a traditional ruler in Delta and his late in-laws from Edo State, without any protest from anywhere.
The group noted that despite both companies operating in the Niger Delta, Chief Tompolo did not complain or interfere in their activities.
The statement praised the NNPC’s position that it has no regrets about bringing in former leader MEND to monitor its oil pipeline network.
He said the decision to engage private contractors to combat the threat of oil theft and vandalism in pipelines cannot be faulted and that engaging a company in which Tompolo has an interest can’t make it bad.
“We have watched with amazement and even dismay at the attacks, which were deliberately staged to blackmail the federal government into canceling the pipeline monitoring and protection contract awarded to a company in which Tompolo has an interest.
“We believe that the federal government and indeed the NNPC have acted positively to promote the common good by taking this deliberate masterstroke of a step to counter the mind-boggling theft of the nation’s disappearing resources.
“Logically, those who eat fat from odious money from stolen raw sources will not welcome the government’s action without a fight. They are expected to deploy huge resources to sabotage it.
“It is on this basis that we call on the Federal Government and the NNPC to be firm and reject this call for cancellation of the contract awarded to Tompolo.
“We also commend the NNPC for insisting on doing the right thing and sticking with the action, despite the mostly sponsored attacks on the government.
“We believe the contract promises to be a big leap in the right direction and the NNPC CEO is right when he stated that the company does not regret the decision.
“Finally, we call on Tompolo to deliver on its promise to reach out to various interest groups in the Niger Delta in the interest of a favorable environment for the company’s critical operations.”