The Ijaw Youths Network has slammed critics of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo, over the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to his firm, Tantita Security Services Limited, by the Federal Government in 2022.
TSL has since August 2022 been in the forefront of the intensified campaign against oil theft which has brought the nation’s economy on its knees.
The pan-Ijaw group, in a statement on Thursday, 31 August, 2023, alleged that the attacks were being sponsored by an ex militant leader from Ondo State, stating that it was shocking in view of the fact that the firm has been delivering on its mandate of stemming crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.
The IYN Coordinator, Frank Ebikabo and Federal Ebiaridor, Secretary, in the statement, asked President Bola Tinubu to ignore those calling for a review of the tripartite contract, describing them as “disgruntled elements in the corridors of power who are driven by mischief and a wild attempt to put an unfair scar on the face of history.”
IYN maintained that there is incontrovertible evidence that Tantita Security Services Limited offered the desperately needed solutions to the huge “existential economic crisis of mind-boggling proportion executed by a lethal criminal gang that targeted the soul of the nation’s economy.”
It added that in the past one year, the achievements of TSL in curbing oil theft in Nigeria can not be contradicted, noting that it is the height of absurdity for “the convoluted minds to posit that the best way to reward a child who has scored excellent marks is to make him to repeat his class.”
The group also cited the passmarks given to TSL by the NNPC GMD, Kele Kyari, who told Nigerians that the pipeline contract with the oil surveillance company had yielded massive result which is not comparable in monetary terms with the contract sum.
Kyari’s submission, it said, was based on the sterling performance by TSL in the campaign against oil theft in the country.
The group noted that the firm discovered 295 illegal connections to NNPC pipelines many of which have been in sabotage operations for years, and destroyed thousands of illegal refineries in the region in addition to the arrest of massive vessels involved in siphoning crude oil in the Niger Delta.
The group stated, “We have watched with shock the sponsored campaign of calumny by a group of frustrated individuals against the person of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (TOMPOLO) over the pipeline security contracted awarded to Tantita Security Services Limited.
“As an organization whose membership spreads across the clans of the Ijaw nation, we had taken the decision to ignore the indirect attacks on the Presidency and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited over the engagement of Tantita to stem the alarming theft of the nation’s crude resources in 2022.
“However, our investigation has shown that those calling on the President to initiate a review of the tripartite security contract are disgruntled elements in the corridors of power who are driven by mischief and a wild attempt to put an unfair scar on the face of history.
“Perhaps, only those who are behind this pitiable campaign of calumny and the incendiary narrative against Tantita Security Services Limited will opt to embrace a selective amnesia to forget the dire state of the nation’s oil economy and the desperate move by the Federal Government to salvage a bad situation.”
The Ijaw group recalled that the oil pipeline protection contract was earlier awarded to an Edo indigene, noting that no son of the Niger Delta wrote to the President to cancel the deal because it was awarded to ‘one man.’
It further noted, “We are baffled that these men who are trivializing the security of the nation’s pipeline forgot to raise hell that the pipeline security contract was given to a single company. It is important to reiterate as stated by proponents of the democratization of pipeline security contract that the contract erstwhile executed by the former company was split into three and a part of it was awarded to TSL.
“Curiously, the ex-militant commander who paid a hack writer in government to embark on a smear campaign against Tompolo opted to be silent about the other firms executing the same contract of securing the nation’s pipelines.”