Founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr Fredrick Fasehun, on Sunday said the body might sue the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over its failure to pay its N1.9 billion as debt accruing for the protection of pipelines contract terminated over a month ago.
Although report indicated that NNPC under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had cancelled the contract but Fasehun said the decision to take legal action against the oil corporation came on the heels of breakdown in communication by NNPC to reach out to the OPC after series of letters sent to it.
According to him, the contract was awarded to the OPC to keep surveillance on the NNPC’s pipeline from Mosimi in Ogun to Oyo State to prevent acts of vandalism.
He however debunked the claim that the contract was awarded to the OPC for political reasons by the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The contract was drafted by the NNPC and both parties signed it. We began on March 16, 2015 and the contract was for three months. I put 4,020 youths on the pipeline and for three months, we did the job with utmost integrity and righteousness. There was no complaint of pipeline vandalism. We were not mobilised but we went ahead to do the job because we felt concerned that the lifeline of the country was being threatened.
“While the contract was on, there was a change in government but I believe government is continuum and any contract signed on behalf of one government should be honoured by its successor.”
The OPC Founder said after the NNPC refused to renew the contract after its expiration on June 16 and has also failed to make the N1,500 daily payment to each of the 4,020 youths who executed the job, frantic efforts the Corporation to honour the agreement had yielded no result, adding that they may dragged the corporation to court for breach of contract.
“If we adopt the peaceful method we have been adopting for over a month and the government or NNPC refuses to comply with its own contract, of course, the only other arbiter is the court. It is in our favour to go to court because we can then ask for many other things like damages, special damages and interest the money could have generated during the period,” he said.
According to him, the NNPC was losing N7 billion daily to pipeline vandalism in the South West prior to the award of the contract despite efforts by law enforcement agencies.
“We saved billions for the NNPC and it is only fair that these youths, who went into the forest for three months to protect the pipelines, should be paid their money,” Fasehun added.
He also advised the government of Buhari to tackle the problem of unemployment in the country, noting that this was one of the reasons he founded the OPC.