Members of the Northern Youth Advocacy for Good Governance Initiative and Arewa Youth Forum converged at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Headquarters in Abuja on Monday to vehemently demand the cancellation of the Pipeline Surveillance Contract granted to Tantita Security, a company linked to Ekpemupolo, widely recognized as Tompolo.
The spirited protesters, wielding placards bearing powerful messages, demonstrated their unwavering determination despite the security forces stationed at the facility. Their rallying cry was directed towards President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, urging him to exercise prudence when considering the renewal of this contentious contract due to allegations of extensive financial misconduct that have plagued its history.
Among the messages displayed on the placards were incisive slogans such as “Tompolo’s Pipeline Surveillance is a Fraud,” “Sack and Probe Mele Kyari Now,” and “NNPC Now an Osusu Ministry,” capturing the essence of their grievances.
Comrade Musa Adebayo, President of the Arewa Youth Congress, assumed the role of spokesperson during the protest, delivering a statement jointly signed by Comrade Usman Saidu, President of the Northern Youth Advocacy for Good Governance Initiative. In his address, Adebayo expressed concerns about the lack of a significant increase in oil production levels since the contract was initially awarded to Tompolo. He underscored that the reported successes were nothing more than the standard production rates observed before the turmoil instigated by the Niger Delta Avengers.
Adebayo remarked, “It is a matter of grave concern that there are ongoing efforts to reassign the pipeline surveillance contract to an ex-Militant General, despite the mounting tensions, financial irregularities, misinformation, and irregularities inherent in the contract.”
He further emphasized the need for transparency, stating, “We expect the federal government to ascertain the true cost of the pipeline surveillance contract, given the emerging facts and figures in the media.”
Adebayo’s address also called for the suspension and thorough investigation of key figures within the NNPCL hierarchy, including Mele Kolo Kyari, Executive Vice President (Upstream) Adokye Tombomieye, Ali Muhammed Zahra, Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), and Bala Wunti, Managing Director of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services.
These officials are to be probed for their roles in the security and maintenance contracts for pipeline infrastructure in both the Eastern and Western corridors, along with the establishment of a project management office for Inter-Atlas Limited, a company whose involvement reportedly cost the federal government nearly $1 billion in the past year.
Concluding his statement, Adebayo articulated the group’s concerns for the nation’s stability, stating, “We believe that awarding contracts to someone who should ordinarily be behind bars for the economic turmoil caused in the Niger Delta region between 2016 and 2018 is a stark departure from the principles of peace and development.”
The protesters have made it clear that they intend to remain at the NNPCL premises until their demands are met, setting the stage for a potential showdown that could have significant ramifications for the nation’s energy infrastructure and governance.