Port Harcourt—The President, Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof Benjamin Okaba has justified the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Government Tompolo’s company—Tantita by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recently there have been widespread criticisms about the surveillance contract being awarded to Tompolo by many individuals and groups in the country including a coalition of Isoko Youth groups and ex-agitators who criticised Tinubu for not awarding them a contract for pipeline surveillance in the region.
But Okaba in a recent interview with Daniel Ayantonye for the Vanguard newspaper said awarding the surveillance contracts is a good way of securing the pipelines in the Niger Delta.
He maintained that the surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo has benefited not only Ijaws but also other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta against claims to the contrary by some persons in the region, adding that Tompolo has employed about 40, 000 youths across different tribes in the region.
The INC leader further noted that oil thieves are plotting to scuttle the pipeline surveillance contract in a vindictive move to get back at Tompolo who he said has sabotaged their criminal dealings.
He said, “If you do a safety comparison of these pipelines before the contracts were awarded to Tompolo and now, the Tantita is not just about Tompolo, he has over 40,000 youths working for him, even among Isoko and Itsekiri people.
“It’s not about Ijaws alone. When you see people coming out to say, give it to us, it is because Tompolo is doing things differently and because he is doing the right thing.
“He has sabotaged the efforts of these criminals, so there is a gang-up. Just imagine Arewa Youths saying Tompolo should not be given the contract, what did they know about pipeline surveillance?
“These are people sponsored by some internal agencies who also feel that the Tantita is fighting the economic sabotage that they have inflicted on the country for so long.”