The controversy surrounding the renewal of the $1.3billion pipeline surveillance contract took a new turn at the weekend with major ex-militant leaders across the Niger Delta region accusing former militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemukpolo also known as Tompolo of being involved in crude oil theft and illegal bunkering.
They also alleged that despite the attempt to label other ex-militant leaders as “illegal bunkerers”, the Oporoza in Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta state serves as the headquarters of crude oil theft and illegal bunkering.
The major former militant leaders, in an open letter to President Bola Tinubu and signed by former commander, Moses Ebipador, threatened to open more can of worms if the former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo does not desist from desperate campaign of calumny against other ex-militant leaders in his bid to convince the president into renewing his multi-million dollar pipeline surveillance contract.
Ebipador noted that the nation’s crude oil production and export during the one year period of Tompolo’s contract decreased rather than increased.
The ex-militant leaders reminded the president that “Tompolo’s camp 5 in Oporoza, Gbaramatu kingdom was raided by personnel from the Nigeria Army following the killing of a Nigerian soldier in “Iroko” who reportedly caught them in the act of crude oil theft with a vessel/barge full of illegal crude oil.
According to the ex-militant leaders, “Prior to the proclamation of Presidential Amnesty in 2009 by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Oporoza was known as the “Anchorage,” the centre of crude oil theft with vessels and barges loading in and out.”
They also claimed that Oporoza had an alleged “bunkering union” with Tompolo’s late father (Thomas Osen Ekpemupolo) among the pioneer chairmen of the bunkering union.
Ebipador insisted that “the president should rotate the Delta state slot to include those who have shown capacity among the Itsekiri ethnic nationality where Escravos Gas-to-Liquids plants is located, since Tompolo has already completed his one-year contract obligation of about $50million per month which saw crude oil production and export decrease rather than increase, it’s been a colossal failure and disaster.”
Commander Ebipador state that, “It is widely known across the region that Tompolo never supported the now President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during the 2023 presidential poll, despite the fact that the president went to Oporoza with resources to seek his support, instead, Tompolo miscalculated and used both his resources and that of the now president to work and fund the opposition.”
The ex-militant leaders unanimously called on the president to ignore desperate attempts, lies and fabrications emanating from Tantita Security Services Limited media propaganda against the great and capable people of Ondo state and other leaders in the region who have displayed nothing short of pure-professionalism and have only called for equity and fairness in the decentralization of the multi-million-dollar pipeline surveillance contract.
They called on the president to conduct a proper review of the $1.3billion crude oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded to three individuals all from Delta state in accordance with the national and economic security interest of the country and decentralize the contract to include other ex-militant leaders from the different states in the region in order to effectively reduce the menace of crude oil theft and boost oil production.