Warri—Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, owner of Tantita Security, Services Nigeria Ltd (SSNL), has said that the crude oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded to his company was not a proof of failure of governance, Vanguard reports.
Tompolo stated this through his Lead Consultant, Mr. Emmanuel Jakpa, while reacting to the recent comment credited to a group called the Academy of International Affairs in a statement made available to journalists.
According to Jakpa, the Academy, which comprised ex-ministers and ex-diplomats, had, in a statement, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to terminate the award of the pipeline security surveillance contract to Tantita SSNL.
He said that the statement was issued by its president, former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi.
Recall that the Federal Government had, recently, awarded multi billion dollars pipeline surveillance contract to Tantita SSNL, a privately-owned company associated with Tompolo.
The lead consultant also said that the Academy had urged the Federal Government to institute a judicial board of inquiry into oil theft in Nigeria covering crude oil and petroleum products, among others.
According to him, the group observed that it was an exercise in futility to “ask some of those suspects involved in oil theft scandal to go round in search of illegal pipelines and oil criminals.”
He said that the Academy also observed in it’s statement that Tantita SSNL would only present a wishy-washy report that would absolve them from any blame, given the antecedence of such private interest in insurgency and militancy in the Niger Delta region.
According to Jakpa, the Academy asked whether it was not a big shame that a private company, Tantita SSNL had to be employed when Nigeria’s security failed.
“The comment that the award to Tantita SSNL is somehow proof of failure of governance is misconceived and predicated on a faulty premise.
“Few days ago a little known but distinguished body stepped out of the closet and launched an unprovoked attacked on the widely successful surveillance contract awarded to Tantita.
“But in attacking Tompolo and the good work Tantita is doing, they shied away from deploying their undoubtedly massive reach in proposing a solution to the hydra headed problem of oil theft.
“By now you would have heard of the din arising from calls for the cancellation of this contract. The din continues to rise in spite of the fact that the contract has already justified itself with the big finds of humungous leakages in our petroleum export architecture
“Will a judicial panel visit the creeks unaided and find the export lines by themselves.
“The manner of argumentation by these distinguished academicians leaves so much to be desired, it appears to be self-defeating,” he said.
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Jakpa said that the fundamental error in the analysis of the group and the consequent prognostication was the notion that awarding a pipeline surveillance contract to a private entity is, itself, a failure of governance and a slur on institution like the armed forces.
He said that this type of contract had been awarded in the past to privately-owned companies, adding that at the moment, virtually every pipeline operator had a private security company contracted to provide security to some pipeline or other production asset.
“The extremely unsavory language used by the distinguished diplomats in associating Ekpemupolo with the illicit trade is much to be deprecated, moreso as they have failed to substantiate their allegations,” he said.
Jakpa said that if the Tantita contract succeed as fully as hoped, it would shore the nations revenue by up to a 100 percent of the present baseline.
He said that Tantita had made mind boggling discoveries adding that the discoveries had not been refuted by anybody and certainly not the Academy.
“Even in faraway Israel the matter is being reported in their local news media. The home country of the private security company that was handed a whooping $195 million contract to secure our maritime domain.
“No international affairs expert wrote to illuminate Nigerians on the advantages or disadvantages of a foreign private company taking responsibility for our maritime security and intelligence gathering.
“We must be wary of the tyranny of experts. Those highly trained men with a hammer, to whom everything looks like a nail,” he said.