Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara has openly criticised the Federal Government for awarding a single individual the crude oil pipeline protection contract. The criticism came during a meeting with a Federal Government delegation led by National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Last year, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) justified its decision to award a multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance contract to Tantita Security Services. The firm is led by former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo, commonly known as Tompolo.
Governor Fubara did not mention names but expressed doubts about the strategy’s effectiveness.
According to Fubara, one cannot control assets in another territory. He urged the delegation to consider the interests of both the Federal and state governments.
The Governor also recommended engaging community members to understand the situation in the Niger Delta better.
Fubara emphasised that security should not be concentrated in the hands of one person. He questioned how someone from one community could control a pipeline in another.
The Governor insisted that key community members should be involved in the process.
The Governor also highlighted that his state had fought hard against illegal refining under the previous administration. He expressed disappointment that the Niger Delta’s contribution to the national economy was not adequately recognised.
A Flawed Strategy: The Risks of Awarding Pipeline Security to One Individual
The decision by the Federal Government to award the protection of crude oil pipelines to a single individual raises serious concerns. It jeopardises the security of these critical assets and undermines community involvement in safeguarding them.
Governor Fubara’s criticism is a wake-up call for the Federal Government. The strategy of centralising security responsibilities in the hands of one individual is flawed and short-sighted.
It fails to consider the complexities and dynamics of the various communities that these pipelines traverse.
The Federal Government must rethink its approach. A more inclusive strategy that involves key stakeholders from the affected communities is essential.
This would enhance security and foster a sense of ownership among the locals.
The issue also raises questions about the transparency of the contract award process. Was due diligence followed?
Were other competent security firms considered?
These are questions that demand answers.
The Federal Government should act swiftly to review the contract and adopt a more inclusive approach.
Failure to do so could lead to increased vandalism, oil theft, and potential conflict among communities.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, contributing over 2 million barrels per day.
- The Niger Delta region is home to most of Nigeria’s oil reserves.
- Oil theft in Nigeria results in an estimated loss of $1.5 billion monthly.
- The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is the state-owned oil corporation responsible for exploration and production.
- Community involvement in pipeline security has effectively reduced vandalism in other countries.