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War Against Crude Oil Theft: Bayelsa Leaders Hail Tompolo, say ex-militant leader best for pipelines surveillance job

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By Our Correspondent

Leaders of Bayelsa State have commended the Chairman of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, for the success so far recorded in the fight against crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.

The leaders of the oil-rich Ijaw state said the commitment of Tompolo through the activities of TSSNL have culminated in the significant reduction in the scale of oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

These positions were made public when a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Henry Seriakpe Dickson, led prominent political and community leaders as well as traditional rulers from Bayelsa State on bridge building mission to Oporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, on Friday.

Dickson led the delegation to the palace of the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro Gbaruan 11, Aketekpe, where they interacted with the monarch and his subjects, especially Tompolo and other prominent citizens of the area.

The former governor, who spoke on behalf of the delegation,said the nation owed Tompolo a lot of gratitude for steming the tide of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

The ex-governor, who currently represents Bayelsa West in the Senate, said crude oil theft has reduced to greatly since Tompolo took charge in less than 2 years.

He also lamented the link between crude oil theft and environmental degradation.

He commended the Federal Government and the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for engaging TSSNL in the fight against illegal oil operations in the region.

Describing Tompolo as “the best man” for the job of securing the oil and assets, he urged all stakeholders, especially all arms of security agencies to support and encourage TSSNL to succeed.

The federal lawmaker stated that the economic survival of the nation was dependent on the success of TSSNL’s assignment and urged the federal authorities and security agencies to emulate the patriotic zeal and commitment of Tompolo.

Dickson, however, accused wealthy and influential Nigerians of being responsible for the unabating crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, adding that they possessed all wherewithal to engage and facilitate the illicit trade.

He exonerated his kinsmen from involvement in the prohibitive trade, stating that they lacked the expertise and sophistication to carry out the high level nefarious job.

He also accused oil multinationals of economic sabotage by under-declaring the quantum of crude oil production, adding that the ugly trend had spanned over six decades.

He urged the Federal Government to demonstrate its sincerity in the war against illegal oil bunkering by effectively monitoring the operation and production of crude oil by the oil majors in order to eliminate all sharp practices.

Besides, the parliamentarian lauded the commitment of Tompolo towards the development of the Niger Delta and upliftment of its citizens.

According to him, Tompolo has demonstrated unparalleled interest in the wellbeing and welfare of the people of the region, regardless of ethnic differences.
Praising Tompolo, whom he intermittently referred to as “General Officer Commanding (GOC)”, Dickson expressed excitement about development strides in Gbaramatu kingdom, especially at its Oporoza headquarters.

He also hailed the ex-militant leader for developing and living with the people in the locality.

He thanked the monarch and his subjects for the level of support and encouragement accorded Tompolo to succeed.

He emphasised the importance of Gbaramatu Kingdom to Ijaw nation and praised the monarch for the prevailing peace and development in his domain.

He said, ” I am here on a courtesy visit to the Agadagba, to appreciate him and Council of Chiefs and all those who are supporting him for maintaing order, peace and stability.”

“This Kingdom is strategic to the ijaw nation and the the Niger Delta región. Gbaramatu is very strategic to the nation’s development, I am here and have seen what they have done here. On the Issue Tantita, I want to thank my younger brother, Tompolo for their efforts and contributions of stopping vandalism of strategic national assets.”

“I want to thank him for reducing illegal bunkering as it is called and for trying their best for reducing the environmental degradation caused by illegal refining activities and tampering with pipeline affecting our farmlands, causing spillage. I know the hardwork they have done and I have said it times again that the best thing that the government and NNPCL have done is by engaging Tantita and the man (Tompolo), who, understands the terrain. That is why he has been able to bring some semblance of normalcy, a lot still have to be done.”

“I’ve seen development here myself, and I want to encourage him and urge the President, the Petroleum Minister and NNPCL and all of those working with him that the partnership needs to be strengthened and sustained and expanded so that he can do more.”

“Stopping pilfering and pipeline vandalism is one thing, but we are also bothered about environmental degradation, you know, degradation of our area. We have an idea of how polluted our environment has become. This is our area, this is where we live and for the Ijaw man, this river is our life, so polluting our waterways and rivers, creeks is a major existential threat to our people.”

He added, “And I encourage the security people to collaborate more with them (TSSNL) and the NNPCL to strengthen that partnership and expand it.”

“As you can see, this is a very difficult terrain to bring about any development. Am so humbled to be here and seeing all these development, it’s a thing of joy to me, and to all of us who have come from Bayelsa State, which is the Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation.”

“But like I have said over and over. I am not saying it for the first time. It is a fact that is known to everybody. The Ijaw people who are living in the creeks and striving day to day for economic livelihood in our polluted waterways, they do not have the capacity to engage in the high level operations that result in the daily loss of crude of Nigerian crude produce from our place. We have no means to do that. “

“The tanker, those who have the capacity to compromise and infiltrate the national security system, those who have the capacity to infiltrate the NNPCL system and the shuttle vessels are not Ijaw people. We don’t even have the experience to get involved in such operations, that’s a high level of operation that requires a lot of resources and coordination, funding and international networking.”

“Like as I said, if Nigeria is serious, the country has to step up its game and at the international arena, make a push for the designation of Nigerian stolen crude as blood diamond.
Nigeria has to push for that.

“But those who on a daily basis under declare even that which is produced and those who have refused to properly monitor and record what is produced for over 50 something to 60 something years should take the blame and not the Ijaw youths, harmless poor people without the capacity and technical know how on how pipes operates and how high voltage pipes can be tampered with, we don’t have that technology. So it’s not an Ijaw youths game, It’s a game perpetrated by the big players, they don’t reside here. They are in Lagos, Abuja, they are in other world capitals, and I stand by that.”

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