The Federal Government has expressed gratitude to the management of Tantita Security Services Limited for their efforts in pipeline protection in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, gave this commendation on Saturday, while answering questions from reporters during his tour of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
Lokpobiri, who was accompanied on the tour by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, among other government officials, said the President Bola Tinubu-led administration is determined to stop all forms of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the country.
Lokpobiri said, “We’re here because of the problem of pipeline vandalisation and illegal bunkering that is going on in the Niger Delta.
“I believe that it has become an existential problem and we need to fight them. We need to fight these criminals to submission.
“What is happening here is so bad that we cannot even know the implications unless maybe when people start dying in their numbers that is when people will know that a few persons were profiting from this crime are here to wipe all of them out.
“So, as a responsible government, we have decided that we are going to put a stop to it.
“We are going to work with stakeholders to ensure that we stop all this nonsense in our society. We are not going to allow them.
“I want to also use the opportunity to express our gratitude to Tantita that has been commissioned by the NNPCL to be able to do some work but we are going to do a lot more.”
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, said the Federal Government would sustain its partnership with Tantita Security Services Limited, to curb the crime of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta.
He added that the Federal Government will soon take additional measures to ensure that things change for the better in pipeline security.
Ribadu said, “We have done very well to get to where we are now. We are certainly going to take more measures. So far, things are beginning to change. Give us little time and you will see things change for the better.”
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, criticised the Federal Government for awarding the contract for the protection of crude oil pipelines to “one man”.
Fubara spoke when the Federal Government delegation visited him at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In August 2022, the NNPCL boss Mele Kyari had justified the government’s decision to award a multi-billion naira pipelines surveillance contract to Tantita Security Services led by former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo aka Tompolo.
Though the Rivers governor did not mention any name, he said the strategy of the Federal Government won’t yield the expected results as an individual cannot have control over the assets in another’s territory.