A transparency group, the Pan-African Economic and Financial Security Initiative, has written to President Bola Tinubu over the controversy trailing the renewal of the $1.3 billion dollars pipeline surveillance contracts, urging him to review and decentralize the contract for effective anti-crude oil theft campaign.
According to the national coordinator of the group, Samuel Chukwu Esq, President Tinubu should review the awards of over $1.3 billion pipeline surveillance contracts to a few individuals from Delta state, despite having capable leaders across the various states in the Niger Delta region that probably would have done a better job and produced better results.
Barrister Samuel Chukwu, in a statement issued via electronic mail to electronic and print media, argued that the review is urgently needed because the nation’s economic and financial security is at stake, key data about Nigeria’s crude oil exports from OPEC and other sources clearly reveal that Nigeria was producing and exporting more crude oil before the over $1.3 billion pipeline surveillance contracts were awarded to these selected individuals, and during the one-year contract period, our production and sales of crude oil decreased.”
“For example, Nigeria crude oil exports was reported at 1,388.260 bpd in December 2022. This records a decrease from the previous year’s higher number of 1,592.333 bpd for December 2021. Nigeria crude oil production was reported at 1,255.000 bpd in July 2023.
“This records a decrease from the previous year’s higher number of 1,295.000 barrel/day for June 2022. Nigeria crude oil production data is updated monthly with a record low of only one million barrel per day in September 2022.
“Mr. President, Nigerians are calling on you to act decisively and quickly to save our nation because this is beyond minor sabotage with a few persons using buckets and drums to steal crude oil in the Niger Delta.
“We believe that our nation’s oil wealth is being siphoned by nefarious actors in millions of barrels on a daily basis. For example, between 2013 and 2015, illegal crude oil bunkering and fighting in the Niger Delta was higher than today, yet we were producing between 1,9 million to 2 million barrels per day. how come Nigeria can’t produce even 1.6 million barrels now that there are no crisis and sabotage is at all time low in the region, NNPC should answer these question.”
He further argued that “during the one-year period between August 2022 to August 2023 when the over $1.3billion pipeline surveillance contracts were awarded, the production and export of our nation’s crude oil continued to decrease rather than increase.
“Mr. President should direct that these muti-billion-dollar pipeline surveillance contracts be decentralized and awarded to the different leaders across the different states for the security of our nation’s assets.”
“Also, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to rehabilitate our refineries but none of our four refineries are working, we demand that Mr. President investigate how these funds were spent, including how the $3 billion dollars that NNPC recently borrowed in exchange for crude oil was spent, and how much crude oil has been collected for the $3billion,
“This is because the dollar is over N915.00 again, and we cannot continue to borrow billions of dollars while our resources are allegedly being mismanaged by the same officials at the NNPC that can’t even fix our nation’s refineries. It’s time for a change.”
He recalled that the controversy trailing the contract renewal to High Chief Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo was due to an earlier petition, a coalition of ex-militant leaders wrote to the President, describing Tompolo’s claims of achievements recorded through Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited as “misleading and part of an alleged misleading media propaganda against oil theft and to mislead the President into approving their planned phase II of Tantita Security’s multi-million-dollar pipeline surveillance contracts.”
Ezra Aero, who led the coalition of stakeholders, ex-Militant leaders and a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) from Ondo State, also argued that “they are not against the renewal of the contract but insisted that federal government should decentralise the award of all pipeline surveillance and maintenance contracts across the different states in the Niger Delta region to reputable ex-militant leaders, who worked with the President and supported his plans for our nation from the onset during the primaries, and also that the President tread with caution as these individuals may not have the best interest of your administration at heart.”