A memo from the Presidency directed the ex-militants, led by Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), Mujaheedin Asari-Dokubo and Chief Bipobiri Ajube (aka Gen. Shoot-At-Sight) to take over Nigerian waterways and oil pipeline protection from the police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as from March 16.
But the contract execution was said to have been delayed because it was uncertain whether the incoming administration would revoke it.
It was learnt that some of the ex-militants did not have enough arms to man the pipelines and needed more time to get well-equipped for the job.
The Federal Government, it was learnt, is set to make a two-month payment out of the N9.3billion contract sum to the beneficiaries through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The exact amount to be paid could not be ascertained last night.
The security agencies will hand over to the militants today, a source said last night.
The contract was signed on March 16. The companies are owned by some former Niger Delta militants and prominent citizens, including founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) Dr. Frederick Fasehun who confirmed that his company was being considered for the multi-billion naira contract.
The OPC National co-ordinator, Otunba Gani Adams, also confirmed to have been awarded the contract, saying it would provide jobs for his “boys”.
Seven companies have been allocated “regions” or operational areas as follows: Egbe Security River One (Bayelsa); Gallery Security (Mosinmi-Ore); Close Body Protection (Edo State); Adex Energy Security(Rivers) ; Donyx Global Concept(Lagos and Ogun); Oil Facilities Surveillance – (Delta) and New Age Global Security (Mosinmi-Ibadan).
The Federal Government was said to have appointed one Engr. Molokwu from the NNPCV Energy and Technical Department as the coordinator.
It was learnt that in 2009, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Ufot Ekaette, presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council for the award of the N1.8billion Kurutie Shoreline Protection and Reclamation contract.
A company, KFT Kpudoh, allegedly owned by Tompolo and another called Phoenica Nigeria Limited, bid for the said contract.
Based on the advice of the Bureau of Public Procurement, after a thorough technical audit, the Shoreline Protection and Reclamation Contract was awarded to Phoenica Nigeria Limited by FEC.
But the award of the contract to Phoenica fetched Ekaette death threats. The government later reviewed the contract.
A source in Warri, Delta State, said the contract for pipelines in Delta State would be executed by Oil Field Surveillance Limited, the same company, which had previously handled it. It is owned by Tompolo.
Nigeria has been battling with huge revenue due to vandalism of oil and gas pipeline.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin, recently announced that Nigeria had been losing an estimated 100,000 barrels of crude oil valued at N1.18 billion daily to oil thieves. This amounts to an annual loss of N433.62 billion.
Pipeline vandalism is said to have led to shortage of gas for firing power plants.
The electricity market, which has 5,500MW installed capacity now generates an average of 3,575.85MW following paucity of gas as vandals who always strike whenever the sector is about to hit 4,500MW”.
Adams was quoted as saying that President Goodluck Jonathan deserves praise for approving a contract for the OPC to protect pipelines across the South-West.
Wide criticisms trailed the president’s approval of the contracts. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Niyi Akintola, described the plan as an act of corruption which has no precedent anywhere in the world.“Why must we encourage the establishment and operation of ex-militants in securing our oil pipelines? What is the responsibility of the Police and the Navy if the ex-militants are to be saddled with the responsibility?” he asked.
Lagos lawyer Festus Keyamo blasted the Federal Government for conceiving the idea in the first place, saying: “It is irresponsible of the Federal Government to give up part of its security to individuals. The money that would be given to such people should be used to equip the Police and the Navy. If this is done, they will perform better.”
Retired Police Commissioner Abubarkar Tsav blamed the plan on the desperation of President Jonathan to win the election at all costs.
Second Republic lawmaker Dr Junaid Mohammed said: “You can’t hire out the functions of the government to an individual no matter how connected they are…”