A fresh wave of tension has swept through the Niger Delta oil industry concerning the extension of the N48 billion oil pipeline surveillance contract held by former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, also known as Tompolo. The contract renewal has sparked a clash between Tompolo and his fellow leaders involved in the region’s struggles, including Mujahideen Asari-Dokubo of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, HRM Ateke Tom, Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf), Chief Bibopere Ajube (Shoot-at-Sight), and an ex-warlord in Imo State.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The N48 billion security contract awarded to Tompolo’s Tantita Security Services in August 2022 is set for renewal this month, igniting intense maneuvering among ex-warlords seeking to wrest control from Tompolo. These ex-militant commanders oppose the renewal, urging for a revised contract to accommodate multiple interests.
The contract entails surveillance and protection of oil pipelines in Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers States. It was facilitated by notable figures such as former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, former Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
While Tompolo seeks contract renewal, his ex-colleagues advocate for a split contract, allowing them to operate in their respective areas. They reject Tompolo’s subletting proposal and demand separate components for each commander to oversee their regions.
These warlords have protested to the presidency, with Kyari reportedly advising them to wait for the Minister of State for Petroleum, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, to prepare a memo for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s attention.
Despite opposition, Tompolo’s renewal bid garners support from Chief Timipre Sylva and the NNPCL Chief Executive. Efforts by journalists to get reactions from Tompolo and Tantita Security Services were unsuccessful.
In response to allegations against Tompolo’s involvement in the 2023 elections, a source from Tantita Security Services defends Tompolo’s role and the company’s performance in tackling crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
As the contract renewal unfolds, the industry watches closely, anticipating the outcome.”