N4b monthly pipeline contract: Tompolo reveals those sponsoring protests against him


By Foster Obi

Following the recent N48b yearly pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Mr Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo by the federal government, a coalition of northern groups rose in protest asking the government to withdraw it within seven days or face crisis. Among other grievances, the group said the contract was just a ploy by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva to empower his people.

Also, Director, Strategic Communications, Coalition of Northern Groups, Samaila Musa, told the Punch recently about the contract, “For us here, it is about the person actually. In Nigeria, we always hear humungous amounts of money being allocated for funny things in the name of contracts. We are used to that. It has become a norm. It is more about the person. Some people are already looking at Tompolo now, saying, “I think this guy is my role model”. It is now simple – create problems for the state until you get recognised as a warlord, claim that you have repented, apply for a contract and watch the reward start coming in.

“We are talking of a contract where his take-home will be about N4bn monthly. It is a way of saying there is a reward for being a gangster! We are drifting as a nation, and that is an area that we really need to check.  If people are being rewarded for this kind of act, then, someday, we should know that it will boomerang in our faces.”

But barring his mind on the protests,  Tompolo told the Vanguard, “Like when people are talking about pipeline protection, and they are doing protests in Port – Harcourt, Lagos, and Abuja, I am amazed. Take the contract that I have now, before now, my late friend, Captain Hosa Okunbo, who was from Edo state, was doing the work for the last four to five years; my younger brother who is a king in Niger Delta today was working with Captain Hosa as his operations manager. Now he has his own contract, then Ben Peters and others are still doing this work, if people are coming to protest that I am part of the contract, I wonder what really is happening.

“What I know is that some people are passing behind to sponsor my people against me. If not, there are many contractors on this surveillance job, we are maybe up to four, then calling only Tompolo’s name that we do not want Tompolo, that Tompolo is based in Oporoza and all that, you can now see that if you want to fight corruption, it will fight back.

“I can tell you many big names are involved in oil bunkering; they know that if I am involved, working together with the Nigerian Navy, JTF, DSS, EFCC, many people will not have any place to hide again. Therefore, they passed the other way round to sponsor some of my people against me.

“I have been fighting all these up till today because I know I am fighting the right cause; I do not have any reason to fear anybody, why should I fear somebody that is carrying maybe two or three guns protesting in Rivers state?

Asked if he thinks that some ex militants are also behind the protests, he said, “Before the protest even, I had spoken to my senior brother, Alhaji Dokubo-Asari and Ateke Tom, we spoke on phone and we promised to meet before even this protest. I do not really think they can be involved in such a thing. I know that even if I secure a contract in Rivers state, Alhaji Dokubo Asari and Ateke Tom do not have the right to stop me.

“In fact, while I was here in Delta state, the late Captain Hosa Okunbo’s company had been working here for the past four years; I did not call him to abuse him on the phone, not to talk of protest. So I do not see any reason people should call me out in Rivers state over pipeline security work.

“ It is just that when this present government came on board, many people felt that this would be the end of Tompolo, but in the end, after seven years, the whole thing turned around, and that is the fear of many people,” he noted.

Picture: Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo


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