June 24, 2024

Youths seek revocation of N48bn pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo


Ini Billie, Uyo

Youths under the auspices of Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants Forum are seeking the revocation of N48 billion pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo.

The Federal Government had last week renewed a N4 billion monthly contract for the surveillance of oil pipelines to a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Mr Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

The group threatened that it would shut down oil production in the state in protest if the Federal Government does not revoke the contract.

The state coordinator of the group, General Johnson Solomon, and Secretary, Comrade Godwin Edohoaqua, State Secretary, criticized the Federal Government for awarding the contract for the surveillance of oil pipelines passing through Akwa Ibom State without engaging youths from the state.

In a petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, copying security agencies and signed by Solomon and Edohoaqua, they stated that the action of the FG was unfair to communities who have suffered environmental degradation over the years as a result of oil exploration and exploitation.

The group called on the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to revoke the contract with Tompolo to accommodate former Niger Delta agitators from Akwa Ibom State as most of the oil and gas pipelines pass through the State.

“In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan was about to hand over to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ex-Militants from Akwa Ibom State in our numbers protested to the National Assembly against a similar contract which did not accommodate us.”

“Leadership of the National Assembly with Heads of security agencies received our protest letter and assured us that Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants will be accommodated in future contracts.

“It is wrong for the Federal Government to short change the youths of Akwa Ibom State by awarding such a bogus contract to a sectional former leader of ex-militants while Gas and Oil pipelines criss-cross our land but we are not engaged, we won’t accept such marginalization.

“We are giving the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to address the situation or we will embark on a marathon protest that will shut down Oil and Gas production in Akwa Ibom State.

“Our youths have refused to be involved in Oil theft and pipeline vandalism because of our patriotism for Nigeria and the agreement we signed with the Federal Government during Amnesty but that should not be a criterion for us to be marginalized in the award of such a contract,” the group stated.

They urged that the contract be awarded in sections to accommodate youths of all the oil-producing states in the region to avoid renewed agitation and possible negative actions that will defeat the purpose of Government intentions.

“We are familiar with the terrain and pipeline routes running across the State and only youths from Akwa Ibom State can protect the pipelines better than a visitor, if our youths are engaged in such a project, the rate of unemployment will reduce,” they said.

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