The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Mele Kyari has explained why the Federal Government awarded the controversial pipelines surveillance contract to a former Niger Delta agitator, Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo.
Kyari clarified that the contract was not awarded to Tompolo as a person but to a company he has interests in.
He spoke during the weekly Ministerial Briefing, hosted by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa.
He explained that it was not the first time that individuals within the Niger Delta region were awarded a contract for pipeline surveillance, noting that the contract was for the interest of the people.
He said it was his belief that the Federal Government has taken the right decision to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network nationwide.
Kyari argued that although the security agencies are doing their part, end-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.
“What we did is to do three things. First, to ensure the government’s security agencies play their part, we have our Navy, the Army and are doing an excellent job of containing this, but as you do this sustenance is everything and therefore we also decided that we need private contractors to man the right of way and also operate outside the right of way so that they can also join us to manage members of the community
“We don’t have access to that and therefore, we put up a framework where contractors were selected through a tender process for people who can do it, not everyone can do it and Tompolo is just mentioned, we’re dealing with corporate entities.
“He may have interest in the company, we’re not dealing with Tompolo, but we know that he has interests in that company. We know that we’re engaging all other individuals who will be of help to us in this situation. This has happened severally over time and the end result was that it was contained under a process like this and we believe that we are taking the right decision,” he explained.