Tompolo’s Pipeline Surveillance Contract: The Journey So Far
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
Looking at the level of improvement in crude oil production in Nigeria, GbaramatuVoice can say without fear of contradiction that the pipeline surveillance contract awarded few months ago to the leader of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and popular Niger Delta freedom fighter, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited to stop illegal bunkering, illegal refining, and other forms of oil theft in the Niger Delta is yielding targeted results.
The reason is not far-fetched. Before, the contract was awarded, the nation’s economy was devastated by inability to generate dollar revenue from its mono source, the export of crude oil – a challenge traceable to sabotage and crude oil siphoning rackets.
One example that amply demonstrates how audacious and ‘organized’ the crude oil theft and other related illicit trade had been in the past before the contract was awarded, is a media report that the Government of Equatorial Guinea arrested a supertanker with a capacity for three million barrels of oil, about three times the one million barrels per day (bpd) currently being produced by Nigeria. The Nigerian Navy confirmed that the ship in question escaped from Nigeria naval security forces after it had been apprehended.
Benefits/feats achieved by Tompolo’s Tantita
Before the contract was awarded, the country lost 700,000 barrels per day to crude oil thieves amounting to $70m daily at $100/barrel. In fact, Crude oil theft forced Nigeria to slack in meeting its 1.8 million OPEC quota, while production remained below one million barrels daily.
Even at the risk of repetition, the newspaper could state categorically that within two months in operation, Tompolo and his organization, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, have discovered over 100 illegal points in Delta and Bayelsa States where crude oil is being stolen. More specifically, is a media report that Tantita Security Service Nigeria Limited, on Thursday, October 7, 2022 successfully arrested 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.
Tompolo’s Tantita have reportedly recruited men and women over seventeen thousand 17,000, in number from various communities in Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Imo and other Niger Delta states. They are the direct beneficiaries of the employment component of the project. Making the arrangement so fascinating is the awareness that their salaries shall be paid directly to those employed in the scheme.
Positive impact on the environment
GbaramatuVoice Newspaper, believes that there is even a more critical area of Tompolo’s achievement that has directly impacted positively on the lives of the people of Niger Delta region, yet, under-reported. This area has to do with the changing state of the Niger Delta environment.
Those that are conversant with the Niger Delta will agree with GbaramatuVoice that the region persistently suffered environmental pollution, degradation and devastation arising from illegal refining activities popularly called Kpofire, and made worse by crude oil exploration and production by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the region, stubbornly known for non compliance with international best practices.
About one month after Tompolo commenced the operation, the environmental narrative changed.
The once polluted environment is giving way to a more convivial and livable one. Observations by GbaramatuVoice crew‘s recent tour of the once heavily polluted Warri to Escravos and Forcados Rivers and creeks supports this assertion.
Community dwellers who spoke with delight to GbaramatuVoice during the fact finding mission explained that in the past two months or so, each time it rains, they fetch and use for domestic purposes the rain water as it is no longer polluted or contaminated.
Tompolo’s Tantita promotes community policing ideology
GbaramatuVoice believes that there is something interesting about Tantita as an organization that policy makers in the country must not overlook.
Fundamentally, if time is taken to study Tantita’s recruitment process, their operational dynamics and environmental matrix, it will point to the fact that Tantita as a company and pipeline surveillance project run on the wheels of state/community policing templates.
According to a report, they share the same spirit, virtues and attributes. Take as illustration, the majority of Tantita’s security personnel were recruited from, and posted to the same community/environment where they hail from. They operate and watch over pipelines within their communities and environs in Bayelsa, Rivers, and Delta states.
Tantita’s policing model has in fact shown that provision of security can no longer be viewed in a unitary way as such thinking is out-fashioned.
Similar to Tantita security architecture and roadmap, if an objective analysis can replace emotional discussion regarding state/community police, it is glaring that there are no federal police or state police models, but there are fundamental differences between the two. While cultural and geographical homogeneity which are strong factors and advantages of state policing are lost in federal policing, state police depend on these factors and more such as historical and friendship to keep society orderly and without anarchy. This value no doubt makes productive policing without disorder.
This is the lesson Tantita Security Services is teaching policy makers in the country. GbaramatuVoice, therefore, calls on the Federal government, state governors and of course the entire nation to carry out an understudy of Chief Tompolo’s security model in order to draw a lesson from their wisdom.
It also holds the opinion that Tompolo needs to be engaged by the federal government and fast, to finding solutions the nation’s nagging security challenge in the country.
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