The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide and the Bayelsa Elders Forum have taken a swipe at the Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Sen. Duoye Diri, for calling for the scrapping of private pipelines surveillance security outfits in the Niger Delta region, describing the call as unpatriotic and a betrayal of the Ijaw Nation.
They said since the introduction of private pipelines surveillance security firms like Tantita and others who contracted by the Federal Government to support the nation’s security personnel to secure the nation’s critical assets, oil production has tremendously increased thereby making Nigeria more economically viable.
The groups in separate press statements dissociated themselves from Governor Diri’s endorsement of the Navy as the soul protector of Nigeria’s oil pipelines.
The IYC in a statement by its Spokesman, Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill, stated that they saw Gov Diri’s comment as highly unpatriotic and purely against the self determination and resource control agenda of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) as contained in the Kaiama Declaration of 1998.
They added that the Council had to come out to correct the wrong impression created before the Federal Government of Nigeria and to Nigerians in general because the statement was “coming out from the Governor general of Ijaw Nation that is supposed to at all time protect the interests of our people in the Nigerian State.”
The statement reads in part: “The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the apex youth body in Ijaw and Niger Delta is using this medium to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria for engaging private firms for the protection of oil and gas facilities in the region. To us, this is one of the best decision taken so far by the Federal Government of Nigeria in recent times as it is in-line with the local content laws of the country.
“While the Ijaw Youth Council will continue to agitate for resource control and more participation in the oil and gas industry, we want to State that the private firms, particularly Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited and other firms handling the surveillance job are all doing great professionally in collaboration with other security agencies.
“The NNPCL, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the entire Nigerian populace is aware that since Tantita and other private firms took over the surveillance contract to secure the nation’s critical assets, oil production has tremendously increased thereby making Nigeria more economically viable.
“Apart from the increased oil production in Nigeria following the engagement of these private firms, they have also created massive employment for thousands of Niger Delta Youths into these companies in curbing oil theft. The level of employment created by these private firms in the Niger Delta region is unprecedented. The IYC is fully in support of this initiative of the Federal Government. We should be aware that even Countries around the World with notable best security architecture still employs the services of non State actors like what the Federal Government of Nigeria is doing now.
“Meanwhile, the Ijaw people in the Niger Delta region is particularly lauding the private firms for effectively handling the pipelines surveillance contract as Council have full confidence in them to continue to carry out their duties.
“Finally, it is also our call as a council that while the Federal Government of Nigeria is on the right track for engaging these private firms, we are also stating that the Ijaws deserved more than mere pipelines surveillance contract as our people must be given the opportunity to participate heavily in the oil and gas sector and proper political inclusion of our people in the Government.”
On their part, the Bayelsa Elders Forum in their statement signed by Chief Joel Eradiri-Amangala and Chief Goodnews Victor-Ben, President and Chairman, Board of Trustees respectively, accused Governor Diri of allegedly working with oil thieves in the country.
They added that stakeholders and industry observers think his change of mind was a vendatta against political foes who are involved in the civil security surveillance of oil pipelines.
They wondered why Governor Diri was endorsing the Nigeria Navy now when only last week, one of the private security firms in charge of pipelines surveillance, Tantita Security Services Limited, TSSL, was reported to have apprehended an ocean going vessel, MT Kali, with IMO No. 8782800, caught siphoning crude oil from one of the several platforms located in the Pennington Oil Field about 50 square kilometers in Bayelsa State, precisely to the west of Furopa, Ezeotu, Bilabiri and Letugbene.
The Bayelsa Elders said that the governor’s call for the sack of private security outfits from oil pipelines surveillance few days after a successful operation in his backyard by Tantita security services defies all logic.
They stated that Governor Diri has been a member of the National Economic Council (NEC) of the nation for almost 4 years and is privy to the circumstances that led the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to resort to hiring private security companies to provide surveillance for oil pipelines in the region.
The group however, noted that they believed that there are other reasons behind Governor Diri’s change of heart, stating that in the wake of the onslaught against crude theft in the region, many of the brains behind the illegal bunkering and local oil refining in the creeks, were chased out of business by the emergence of the private security companies.
“These criminals, apart from engaging in crude refining, were also enmeshed in oil siphoning for sales to foreign racketeers, with the local 18, ABULABIRI-FANGBE ROAD, YENAGOA political elites in Bayelsa state, providing them protection from the law.
“The question therefore, is: With the latest feat and many others before it, recorded by the private security providers right on the nose of Governor Douye Diri in Bayelsa state, can any right thinking man write off and advocate the sack of the same private security providers in the prevailing circumstances?
“Besides, it smacks of double standard and deceit that while Governor Douye Diri promotes, projects and canvasses support for the Nigerian Navy in the day time, he nocturnally sabotage same agency by giving tacit, approval, encouragement and support to some rabble-rousers in the corridor of power in Bayelsa state, indulging in illicit crude oil deals. This Governor can’t be taken seriously by any rational human being.
“His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, sees more than he betrays. He will not buy into the shenanigans of Governor Douye Diri.
“Accepting Governor Diri’s proposition of excusing the private security providers from being part of the efforts to secure the nation’s oil and gas assets is tantamount to shooting the nation in the foot.
“Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser, is aware of all the monkey business that would be the order of the day if Diri’s self-seeking postulation is allowed to fly.
“It is best to ignore Governor Douye Diri’s ill conceived endorsement. Nigeria must move forward, but not with shackles.
“Relieving the private security providers of the present good services they afforded the nation would be an economic miscalculation and a self sabotage of the nation’s fortunes,” the Bayelsa Elders Forum stated.