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Rivers Governor Fubara Lambasts Federal Oil Security Measures as ‘Futile’

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PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria — Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State minced no words on Saturday, August 26, 2023, criticising the Federal Government’s strategy for protecting Nigeria’s crude oil pipelines.

Fubara took aim at the government for awarding a lucrative, multi-billion naira contract to a single security firm, Tantita Security Services, headed by former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo, known popularly as Tompolo.

The pointed critique occurred during a high-level meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, where a Federal Government delegation led by National Security Adviser, NSA, Nuhu Ribadu convened to discuss the security of oil and gas assets in the region.

“Security of pipeline should not be given to one man or one person. How can someone from Kalabari be controlling the pipeline in Ogoni? There is no way it will work,” Fubara said during the meeting.

“We must look at bringing all the key people in the various communities.”

The Governor further advised the delegation to consult community leaders at the grassroots level to better understand the security dynamics in the Niger Delta region.

“Two of our sons from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom are heading the Ministry of Petroleum. We don’t want them to fail. We must give them the necessary support,” Fubara insisted.

“Engage the right people so you can get the right information.”

The governor also highlighted what he viewed as a neglectful approach by the Federal Government towards Rivers State.

He pressed the delegation to ensure that their security efforts would be mutually beneficial to both the Federal and state governments.

“In August 2022, the Federal Government justified their decision by awarding the contract to Tantita Security Services,” Fubara stated.

“But I believe that the strategy won’t yield the expected results; an individual cannot have control over the assets in another’s territory.”

Fubara’s administration is not lowering the bar when it comes to clamping down on illegal refining of crude oil—a hard line stance that was initiated by the immediate past Governor, Nyesom Wike.

“We have waged a strong war against illegal refining. The Niger Delta contributes significantly to the national economy, and it’s about time it received the benefits it rightly deserves,” Fubara declared.

NSA Ribadu noted that the delegation, which included key military and oil ministry officials, was dispatched with explicit orders from President Bola Tinubu to put an end to crude oil theft and illegal refining.

The delegation’s high-profile makeup underlines the urgency and complexity of Nigeria’s pipeline security dilemma.

Among those accompanying the NSA were the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja; and ministers of defense and petroleum resources.

As the federal government navigates this contentious issue, Governor Fubara’s forthright views are likely to resonate not only in Rivers State but also throughout the restive Niger Delta region.

With billions of naira and Nigeria’s energy security at stake, the tug-of-war between federal and state powers shows no signs of abating.

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