July 21, 2024

Award of pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo by FG, raises doubt over ability of security agencies – Governor Akeredolu

Samuel Agbelusi

The Ondo Government revealed that the decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to grant Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo, and other non state actors permission to bear heavy assault weapons through pipeline surveillance contract, has only raised doubt over the ability of the Nigerian security agencies to safeguard the Federation.

Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State Governor , in a statement obtained by EnergyDay, made this known in response to the  N4 billion monthly contract awarded to a company with link to Tomopolo for the surveillance of crude oil and gas pipeline assets across the country.

According to him, the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has only raised doubt over the ability of our security agencies.

The Ondo state government has revealed that the Nigerian Government has discarded the effort and purpose of the security outfit created across the country,  through the award of pipeline surveillance contracts to private organizations and individuals against vandalism of pipeline assets.

Governor Akeredolu said,  “The award of contracts to private organisations to protect vandalisation of pipelines raise fundamental questions on the sincerity of the advisers of the Government on security issues.

“The open and seeming enthusiastic embrace of this oddity, despite the constant and consistent avowal of the readiness by the Security Agencies in particular the Navy to contain the pervasive and deepening crises of breaches and threats to lives and property, attracts the charge of insincerity bordering, deplorably, on dubiety.”

On his part, the federal government should have given similar support to the state government whose responsibility is to safeguard lives and properties in their state with the needed resources.

He said, “If the State Governments, which are keenly desirous of protecting their citizens, establish ancillary security outfits and there has been pronounced reluctance, if not outright refusal, to consider permitting them to bear arms for the sole purpose of defence.

“Granting private individuals and or organisations unfettered access to assault weapons suggests, curiously, deep-seated suspicion and distrust between the Federal Government and the presumed federating units.”

“The purported award of pipeline contracts to some individuals and private organisations by the Federal Government has been unsettling. More disquieting is the barely disguised hostility displayed against either the idea or the actual establishment of security outfits by some State Governments to fill the widening gaps in the scope of security coverage noticeable nationally.

“The Federal Government, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, has been consistent in its refusal to accede to the request by some States in the Federation to strengthen the complementary initiatives adopted to protect lives and property.

“It is, therefore, shocking to read that the Federal Government has maintained the award of the contract to “protect” the country’s pipeline from vandals to private organisations. This story, if true, leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The NSA will, obviously, not advise the President to approve the award of a contract of such magnitude if the operators have not displayed sufficient capacity to checkmate the criminal activities of equally powerful groups.

“Consequently, it is safe to conclude that the Federal Government has, implicitly, permitted non-state actors to bear heavy assault weapons while denying the same privilege to the States, the federating units.“The award of contracts to private organisations to protect vandalisation of pipelines raise fundamental questions on the sincerity of the advisers of the Government on security issues.

“ The open and seeming enthusiastic embrace of this oddity, despite the constant and consistent avowal of the readiness by the Security Agencies in particular the Navy to contain the pervasive and deepening crises of breaches and threats to lives and property, attracts the charge of insincerity bordering, deplorably, on dubiety.

“If the State Governments, which are keenly desirous of protecting their citizens, establish ancillary security outfits and there has been pronounced reluctance, if not outright refusal, to consider permitting them to bear arms for the sole purpose of defence, granting private individuals and or Organisations unfettered access to assault weapons suggests, curiously, deep-seated suspicion and distrust between the Federal Government and the presumed federating units.

Governor Akeredolu further noted that the engagement of private organisations to handle serious security challenges reinforces the belief that the whole defence architecture in the country needs an urgent overhaul.

He said, “The Federal Government cannot be seen to be playing the Ostrich in this regard”

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