TANTITA PIPELINES SURVEILLANCE CONTRACT RENEWAL: Who is afraid of HIGH CHIEF GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO ( alias TOMPOLO )?
The President Muhammadu Buhari led government and the NNPCL were at their wits end when the economy of the nation hit the rocks with the collapse of crude oil production from 2016 – 2022. The government was almost brought to its knees, as it gradually fell behind in meeting commitments for the smooth running of the administration.
This was largely due to the activities of both foreign syndicate of oil racketeers and local unscrupulous individuals involved in illegal refining of crude oil. The dwindling revenue tasked that government to no end, and it went cap in hand in search of foreign loans to meet its obligations. Nigeria could not meet its OPEC daily production quota of 2.2 million barrels per day.
Production plummeted down to a paltry 700 thousand barrels per day. The President could not keep the harrowing situation from citizens, he announced Nigeria was earning little or nothing from from the oil sector, that whatever accrued went to service petrol subsidy. Nigeria was at this point systematically grinding to a halt.
The nation’s armed forces, especially the Navy, were at a loss as to how to tackle the foreign oil syndicates and their local collaborators, in the illegal bunkering and shipping of the nation’s crude overseas. The clandestine operation was not a new phenomenon.
The President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration faced with similar failure of the nation’s security structures to checkmate the excesses of the criminals, sought the assistance of a local private security outfit. The Oil Surveillance Limited was contracted for the job.
Due to politics, the private security company’s contract was terminated immediately on the coming on stream of the Buhari Administration in 2015. Buhari had posited that the nation’s armed forces were equipped for the task.
The departure of the security company from the creeks availed the old oil buccaneers a fresh in-road to the creeks to commence their nefarious illegal bunkering and exportation of crude. This time, they totally crippled the nation’s oil sector.
It was premised on the ever deteriorating situation that the President Buhari’s government swallowed its pride to seek the intervention of TANTITA with a security surveillance contract in August 2022.
The offer was made based on TANTITA’s capacity and wide knowledge of the Niger Delta terrain. The terms and mandate of the contract was to monitor and protect crude flow lines, prevent sabotage of pipelines and halt crude oil theft.
Within one year of TANTITA intervention, crude production rose from less than 700 thousand barrels per day to over 1.6million barrels per day. The appearance of TANTITA on the scene witnessed a mass exodus of oil racketeering syndicates from the region, small time crude refiners also closed shop and melted away.
Foreign vessels anchored in the creeks where they siphon crude for export, were cracked down upon and their activities reduced minimally. The mass media frequently reported stories of vessels filled with stolen crude impounded by TANTITA, set ablaze and their crews arrested, to serve as deterrent to potential offenders.
TANTITA also grounded the activities of criminals who steal crude, load same into trucks, and move them by land to neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
The TANTITA outfit has also being engaged in enlightenment programmes of local communities on behalf of the Federal Government, on the need to shun gangs that approach them for cooperation in oil theft, no matter how mouth watering the inducement. The awareness created on the danger of involvement in practices associated with oil theft made villagers decline help and support to thieves.
TANTITA has supported locals to return to their age long occupation of fishing and farming, through financial gifts, purchase of fishing nets and other gears needed for their occupation. This was achieved as pollution in the waterways were cleaned.
Also to be noted is the mass demolition of illegal crude refining camps that dotted the region. Their operators were discouraged from returning to the business. Their activities added to an already bad situation, they contributed their own quota of black soothes emitted into the atmosphere during local refining.
Which contaminated the atmosphere and created environment for lung cancer and other diseases amongst the locals. The Port Harcourt sky that that was permeated with smug and soothes has since TANTITA commenced operations gradually cleared up.
TANTITA immensely improved Nigeria earning from crude in less than one years of its operation. More dollars were earned by the country, as a result of the activities of the company. So far, over $8 billion which could have disappeared into the pockets of oil thieves went to the government.
The revenue represents the value of crude that could have been stolen in the period under review. The Nigerian Military, especially the NAVY, that had at a time been left with no solutions to menace, regained its momentum. The Navy sat up to squarely discharge its constitution responsibility of the protecting the federal government waterways and crude oil assets.
With these achievements in one year, it had been expected that TANTITA would receive appreciation from all stakeholders, most especially the home front. It is therefore sad and very surprising to observe an undisguised antagonism aimed at TANTITA, mostly from those considered as family.
In civilize climes, the outfit would have been celebrated with pomp, its arrow head and promoter, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, given the red carpet treatment. But echoes of hate, antagonism and opposition rent the air, as the pipelines surveillance contract comes due for renewal at the end of August 2023.
Those with axe to grind with Tompolo should do so at personal level, and shield their pettiness from TANTITA. People who fight TANTITA because of Chief Government Ekpemupolo are enemies of Nigeria. They are motivated by envy.
They are either involved in the shady racketeering in crude oil, or merely echoing the desperation of their mafia bosses, who have robbed the nation for decades. The non renewal of TANTITA contract would usher in a fresh era of oil criminal enterprise. It is true that when corruption is fought in this country, it fights back.
President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR and the MD, NNPCL, should ignore the shenanigans of these enemies of our nation. The contract of TANTITA should be renewed and done speedily too, to enable the security company continue its good work.
Tne outfit should be encouraged, supported and allowed to continue its legacy of transparency, integrity and the national interest, and above all sustained crude oil production. As we conclude, we are prompted to ask this question: who is afraid of TANTITA & High Chief Government Ekpemupolo ( aliasTompolo)? Surely not the decent people of this country who desire stability and economic rebirth for the nation.
Issued by : NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT ASSEMBLY
SIGNATORIES: CHIEF EZEKIEL UGEDI – NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
(2) EFEMENA EJOMAFUVWE – NATIONAL SECRETARY
(3) ORIGHOMISAN EZEKIEL – NATIONAL PUBLICITY SECRETARY