Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has taken a swipe at the Federal Government over the award of controversial pipelines surveillance contract to a private security outfit. According to Akeredolu, awarding such magnitude of contract to a private firm and allowing the beneficiary firms and individuals to bear assault weapons at the detriment of states that had been requesting such for the protection of the people was shocking.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, had explained that it was not the first time that individuals within the Niger Delta region were awarded a contract for pipeline surveillance, noting that the contract was for the interest of the people. Kyari argued that the contract awarded to former Niger Delta agitator, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders, adding that security agencies are also doing their part.
Akeredolu in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, stated that the action implied that the Federal Government had permitted non-state actors to bear heavy assault weapons while denying same privilege to the states.
In the statement entitled “Who Actually Needs Weapon,” the governor said: “The Federal Government, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, has been consistent in its refusal to accede to the request by some states in the federation to strengthen the complementary initiatives adopted to protect lives and property.
“This is done in spite of the knowledge that the very issues which necessitated the creation of these outfits support providing adequate weaponry. All attempts to persuade the Federal Government to look critically into the current security architecture have been rebuffed, despite the manifest fundamental defects engendered by over-centralisation. “It is, therefore, shocking to read that the Federal Government has maintained the award of the contract to ‘protect’ the country’s pipeline from vandals to private organisations.”