The Federal Government has confirmed that it has not issued any directive for the cancellation or re-award of the N48bn oil pipeline surveillance contract in the Niger Delta, contrary to speculations in some quarters.
The contract, reportedly worth N48bn per year (N4bn per month), sparked diverse reactions, as some stakeholders commended the move, while others kicked against it, leading to recent claims that it might be cancelled or awarded to another firm.
In August 2022, it was reported that the government awarded the pipeline contract to a security firm of the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
The Punch qouted sources from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited stated in Abuja that there was no directive yet on whether to cancel or re-award the contract, and NNPCL was awaiting the presidential directive on the future of the contract.
“The contracts are being implemented in strict compliance with all terms and conditions therein,” a senior official at the FMPR, the parent ministry of the NNPCL, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated.
The source added, “There is no any directive from any quarter to cancel the contract and re-award to another set of contractors.”
Tompolo’s firm was expected to carry out the N4bn monthly contract that covered Delta, Ondo, Imo, Rivers and some parts of Bayelsa State in collaboration with major tribes along the communities that host the oil pipelines.
But sources at the NNPCL stated on Friday that though there had been speculations recently that the contract could be re-awarded, no directive had been issued on that.
When asked whether the NNPCL would cancel or re-award the contract, an official of the national oil firm replied, “This question should be directed at the Presidency/National Security Adviser. It’s not a decision NNPC can make.”
The NNPCL Chief Executive Officer, Kyari had defended the contract around the time it was awarded, as he explained that the decision was necessitated by the need for Nigeria to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network nationwide due to massive oil theft.
He said, “The security agencies are doing their part, end-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.
“We need private contractors to man the right of way to these pipelines. So we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision.”