Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, on Saturday, criticized the Federal Government for awarding the contract for the protection of crude oil pipelines to “one man”.
Fubara spoke when a Federal Government delegation on the security of oil and gas assets led by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, visited him at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In August 2022, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, had justified the government’s decision to award a multi-billion naira pipelines surveillance contract to Tantita Security Services led by former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo aka Tompolo.
Though the Rivers governor did not mention any name, he said the strategy of the Federal Government won’t yield the expected results as an individual cannot have control over the assets in another’s territory.
Fubara, who decried the neglect of the state by the Federal Government, called on the delegation to ensure that the outcome of their task would be beneficial to both the Federal and the state governments.
He advised them to engage the people at the grassroots to better appreciate the situation in the Niger Delta area.
The governor said, “Security of pipeline should not be given to one man or one person. How can someone from Kalabari be controlling the pipeline in Ogoni? There is no way it will work.
“We must look at bringing all the key people in the various communities.
“Two of our sons from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom are heading the ministry of petroleum. We don’t want them to fail. We must give them the necessary support.”
He advised the delegation to engage the right people so they can get the right information.
Fubara said that Rivers waged a strong war against illegal refining of crude oil under the leadership of the immediate past Governor, Nyesom Wike, and that his administration won’t lower the bar.
He said he does not think that the Niger Delta is benefitting as much as it should compared to its contribution to the national economy.
On his part, the NSA said the delegation is billed to visit Rivers and other Niger Delta states with a marching orders from President Bola Tinubu to end crude oil theft and illegal defining of petroleum products.
On the delegation with the NSA were the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa; and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja.
Others include Minister of Defence, Muhammed Badaru; Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; Minister of State (Oil), Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri; and Minister of State (Gas), Petroleum Resources, Ekperipe Ekpo.