An x-ray of Tompolo’s ‘magical’ hands on the nation’s economy, maritime, petroleum sectors and Niger Delta region
GbaramatuVoice Special Report
In this special report, GbaramatuVoice, the most authoritative newspaper in the Niger Delta writes that there has been something fundamentally new and different in the environmental condition of Niger Delta region, the nation’s maritime sector, Nigeria’s petroleum sector and of course the nation economy, in the past six (6) months, when crude oil pipeline surveillance contract was awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), to Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, a company wholly owned by High Chief Oweizide Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, the ‘Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation’ and global ambassador of the Ijaw people.
In the past decade, there was a veiled agreement by stakeholders in Nigeria project made up of development professionals, public affairs analysts as well as public office seekers that something was seriously wrong with the Niger Delta region, the nation’s economy, the Nigeria’s maritime authority and of course the petroleum sector that made crude oil theft in the country to have according to reports flourished in different dimensions and rate for over 22 years.
For instance, earlier in 2022, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, revealed that Nigeria lost about N434billion to oil theft between January and March. Within the same space, the NNPC told Nigerians that, the country loses 470,000 barrels of crude oil monthly to theft, amounting to $700million.
But there was something remarkable about the discourse
Among those who share the feeling that there was something wrong with the above referenced sectors, there was also wide disagreement about the causes of the crisis. Some commentators attributed it to the fact that this is a nation where tribal loyalty is stronger than common sense of nationhood. Others pointed to increased role of special interest among public office holders in the country while the rest argued that it was as a result of the influence of money on the nation’s polity.
However, the referenced Pipeline Surveillance Contract awarded August 2022, to High Chief Tompolo, by the Federal Government through NNPCL, has not only resolved the above speculations about the root cause of crude oil theft in the country and politics that made it to thrive, but has more than anything else sent the entire argument and mystery surrounding crude oil theft to dustbin of history, ushered in sustainable development that cuts across all sectors and announced stable crude oil supply by Nigeria to the global market.
Even High Chief Tompolo knew the enormity of the task ahead of him when the contract was first awarded. During a press conference in Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West of Delta state, he among other remarks noted that defeating crude oil theft in Nigeria requires collaboration from relevant agencies, adding that he, by the grace of God, will do his best, so that Mr president and NNPCL will see that the work was given to the right person.
Today, GbaramatuVoice reports that there is a shift from negativity to positivity in the petro-economic discourse in Nigeria just as there is a total change in political and socioeconomic narratives in the country from that of hopelessness to an assured future .
Tompolo’s ‘’magical’’ hands and leadership sagacity has culled into one, all the multifaceted challenges bedeviling the sectors and provided a consolidated solution to all.
The one time volatile and environmentally degraded Niger Delta region is giving way to a more livable ecosystem devoid of environmental pollution. In the same vein, the region is gradually becoming a zone of peace with youths from the region now gainfully engaged and active in the day to day protection of the nation’s high priced oil facilities domiciled in their vicinities.
According to a Niger Delta based public affairs commentator, with over seventeen thousand (17,000) youths in Tantita’s direct employ, and another tens of thousands of youths, elderly men and women from the region benefitting from the contract’s value-chain, Niger Deltans are not only happy but presently feel sense of belonging in the management of their God given resources. High Chief Tompolo, on his part, has made not just a commendable effort, rather, he has taken right step in the right direction to curb youth unemployment in the region, he concluded.
In a similar style, with excellent security provision to the crude oil bearing facilities by Tompolo’s Tantita, which has brought about improved production capacity, the once downward nation economy presently looks up.
As an illustration, a recent report which emanated from the Federal Government and sighted by GbaramatuVoice shows that Nigeria’s crude oil production volumes rebounded to the highest since April of 2022, producing 1.33 million b/d in December, contributing significantly to OPEC’s increased oil production in the period. OPEC and its allies the report added, increased crude oil production by 140,000 b/d as OPEC’s 13 countries pumped 28.98 million b/d in December, an increase of 110,000 b/d from November, led by Nigeria, while 10 non-OPEC partners including Russia added 13.73 million b/d, a rise of 30,000 b/d. When combined, the alliance produced 42.71 million b/d in December alone.
In financial terms, Tompolo and his organization (Tantita) has overwhelmingly redirected and positioned Nigeria on the part of profitability.
Supporting the above point is the latest statement from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources dated Monday, January 16, 2023, which particularly noted that the country raked in an additional N363bn from crude oil sale in the months of October, November and December 2022.
Even the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, is in agreement that Tompolo has obviously contributed to the nation’s economy as he(the Minister) opening declared recently via a statement, that ‘Nigeria is making progress in oil earnings following improvements in security in the Niger Delta region.
The above awareness becomes more appreciated when remembers that the Nigeria’s oil production was faced with oil theft that hampered exports and resulted in significant oil spills and loss of billions of naira. In fact, activities of oil thieves assumed a dangerous dimension last year, causing a lot of damage to Nigeria’s economy. The impact was so monumental that the country was forced to start looking for a solution.
GbaramatuVoice reports that among other achievements, Tompolo’s efforts executing the Pipeline Surveillance in October, 2022, led to the discovery of illegal underwater 2.5mile connection from the Forcados export terminal operating undetected for nearly 9 years. This is in addition to the well over 58 illegal other points discovered by Government Ekpemupolo in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states where crude oil was being stolen.
More specifically, GbaramatuVoice on October 7, 2022 monitored Tompolo’s Tantita’s successful arrest of a crude oil tanker, loaded with an unspecified quantity of crude oil at the Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state and its subsequent destruction.
Still in its continuous efforts to stem oil theft and restore Nigeria’s production to an optimum capacity, Tompolo’s Tantita on December 31, 2022, arrested, and with the aid of Federal Government’s security forces, destroyed a barge loaded with stolen crude. The barge was earlier arrested with suspects on board.
The barge, named MT Brighton 1, which was loaded with stolen crude, was reportedly apprehended in one of the creeks running into the Ramos River in Agge community, a border village between Delta and Bayelsa states. Still on the Saturday, December 31, 2022 achievements, the security intervention team on the last day of the year demolished a filling station, Blessed Corporate Oil & Gas Services Limited in Opete, near Warri, Delta State, for being in the custody of a truck laden with stolen crude and discharging the illegal contents into its underground storage tanks.
And most recently, a seven-year-old crude oil theft point was uncovered in a similar style on the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited in Nonwa-Uedume community, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The theft point, going by reports, is a one and half inch pipe said to have been operated for over seven years with capacity to load two tankers of 33,000 litres of crude oil per night, runs 2km into a loading point in the community.
For Tompolo’s Tantita, it is a case of new day, new discoveries
Indeed, analysts are full of hopes that like the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, recently noted, it is possible for Nigeria to achieve 2.2 million barrels per day crude oil production output in 2023. But then, achieving and sustaining such a feat will be a function of how long the contractual relationship between the Tompolo’s Tantitta and Federal Government will last.
It is even possible for the country to continually meet the OPEC quota for several months. But analysts are however worried that the inability to maintain the relationship (between NNPCL and Tompolo) will possibly see Nigeria goes back to its usual sorry terrain.
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