AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU, GCFR, ON THE CAMPAIGNS FOR AND AGAINST THE RENEWAL OF THE CONTRACT FOR TANTITA SECURITY SERVICES LTD IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CRUDE OIL THEFT, AND OIL PIPELINE VANDALISM IN THE NIGER DELTA
Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori,
Dear Mr. President Sir,
A PLEA FOR THE RENEWAL OF CONTRACT FOR TANTITA SECURITY SERVICES LTD TO REINFORCE OUR CONFIDENCE IN YOUR MANTRA OF ‘RENEWED HOPE’ IN THE ECONOMY
Your Excellency Sir, the news media has been lately awash with calls on your office to consider the propriety or otherwise of the renewal of the contract for Tantita Security Services Limited, a company allegedly owned by Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, contracted to secure national oil and gas assets and fight the thieving of crude oil with the NNPCL and Nigerian Security Agencies in the Niger Delta.
I am constrained to write this open letter to your office as the immediate past Deputy Governor of Delta State with substantial knowledge of the menace of crude oil theft and vandalism of its infrastructure on one hand, and as a native of Okerenkoko and Obotobo Communities in Warri South West and Burutu Local Government Areas of Delta State that are amongst other communities, the host to the trans-Escravos pipeline and the 200km trans-Forcados pipeline, respectively.
The latter is the second largest pipeline in the Niger Delta Region that evacuates crude oil from the Western Delta to the Forcados oil export terminal with an export capacity of 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day. I am worried because Nigeria undoubtedly is a mono-economy that is majorly reliant on crude oil and gas receipts.
Our national and sub-national governments’ budgets, almost always have been tripodal on crude oil and gas sales, tax receipts that are inextricably linked to the oil and gas subsidiary investments, and external and internal borrowings.
Thus, any shock in the sector, whether man-made or natural cause, adversely impacts the economy. This is the more reason the Presidency must be circumspect, and cannot afford to make an error of judgment in the ongoing campaign of calumny and divisiveness against the partners in progress; Tantita Security Services Ltd, the NNPCL and the Nigerian Navy, in their patriotic fight against the syndicated criminal activities of crude oil theft and vandalism of its infrastructure.
After all, it is a notorious fact that the fight against the menace of oil theft, and the destruction of national oil and gas assets has already made tremendous progress. If so, why the ridiculous and untenable ‘hue and cry’ to change a winning team?
It is important that our budding confidence in your mantra of ‘Renewed Hope’ should be kept alive as the economically impoverished citizenry battles for survival amidst the hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.
The aftermath of the 2015 general election which brought in your predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari into office witnessed unprecedented and successive breaches of critical oil and gas facilities including the famous trans-Forcados delivery pipeline on the 27th May 2016, and that amongst other factors accounted for the country being plunged into recessionary times as there was a drastic drop in crude oil production and a dip in its price in the international market to an all-time low 24 dollars per barrel.
Responsively, the then Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa-led government of Delta State constituted the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Assets Destruction and I became Chairman of the committee. No sooner was the inauguration of the committee, we hit the creeks of the oil-producing communities by embarking on aggressive advocacy campaigns against oil assets destruction.
The Committee went to the oil-producing communities in the Benin River and its tributaries that opened up into some communities in Edo and Ondo states. We traversed the oil-producing communities along the famous Escravos and Forcados Rivers in Delta state and further down to the oil-producing communities at the Delta and Bayelsa fringes of the Ramos River.
Your Excellency, the Presidency invited me to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to help articulate the issues underscoring the resurgence of violent attacks on national oil and gas assets as well as producing a blueprint for a Presidential visit to states in the Niger Delta.
I was further co-opted as an individual from the Niger Delta States to attend the Inter-Ministerial Committee meetings on the Niger Delta headed by the former Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo. The government saddled the Committee with the avowed responsibility of addressing topical issues concerning the Niger Delta such as the then ongoing unrest in the region, the Ogoni clean-up, and the Nigerian Maritime Okerenkoko, to mention but a few.
Your Excellency, it suffices to say that I was in no small measure involved in working out the details and itinerary of the Presidential visit to the various states in the region headed by the former Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo and assisted by the former Minister for State Petroleum, and former Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. It began on the 16th of January, 2017 in Delta State, and in other states in the region.
It is very important to state currently, that one of the conscientious outcomes of the Presidential visit to the region was the procurement of the services of the Tantita Security Services Limited to partner with the Nigerian Navy and NNPCL to intensify the fight against crude oil theft and secure national oil and gas assets from destruction.
Having the capability and profound understanding to handle the complexities and sophistication that characterize the syndicated criminal activities of oil theft, oil assets vandalism, and mitigation of environmental despoliation in the region, Tantita Security Services Limited is a square peg in a square hole.
Please accept the assurances of my highest regard.
Deacon Kingsley Otuaro Esq
Immediate Past Deputy Governor of Delta State.