The collaborative efforts of private investors in the oil sector in protecting the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines in the Niger Delta region is yielding results as oil facilities have remained secured in recent times. PATRICK OCHOGA writes.
It is no longer news that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) in the past has suffered huge losses in its crude owing to the activities of oil vandals especially in the Niger Delta region.
The nation bled as oil thieves coordinate attacks on oil pipelines and facilities, a sector which produces chunks of the nation’s gross domestic product, (GDP).
However, under the watch of the group managing director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, has showed a renewed commitment to restore sanity in the sector by engaging credible oil servicing companies with demonstrable track records in line with the best international practice to assist the federal government in safeguarding the nation’s oil facilities.
The GMD’s approach to ensure that pipelines and oil facilities are safe and protected from the right of way of the members of the public may have informed the need to engage Ocean Marine Limited (OML), an oil service company reputed for integrity and promoting safe environment not only in Nigeria but globally.
In a bid by the NNPC to continue to ensure uninterrupted supply of crude, recently a contract for the security surveillance of the 87- kilometre Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP) was renewed and awarded to Ocean Marine Limited.
OML, is a frontline indigenous maritime security company with years of expertise experience in the up and downstream sectors. The company which has in it fleets over 50 purpose-built patron boats is one of the oil servicing companies that has enjoyed and sustained working partnership with the Nigerian navy.
However, the recent award of security surveillance contract to OML according to credible source within the NNPC, indicated that it is not unconnected with the company’s success over the years in safeguarding NNPC’s pipelines while others were engaged in outright sharp practices and oil theft, little wonder some people instigated protest against the award.
The award of the contract to OML was said to have excited many communities along the right of way of the trans-forcados pipeline which hitherto had suffered heavy losses.
A repentant militant leader and now community youth leader in Warri, Delta State, Joseph Oboru, who expressed support for the contract award said they would stop at nothing to ensure that prevailing peace in the region was sustained and thanked the NNPC for awarding the contract to Ocean Marines adding that they were ready to support any group or individual interested in developing and bringing lasting peace to the region.
Apparently in response to the recent protest by some youths against the surveillance contract, Oboru pointed out that they were sponsored to embarrass what OML was doing in the region.
He said, “The petitioners have no capacity to carry out that Job and they are all oil thieves who don’t want the right thing done. Any powerful person behind it must have been misguided.
“This is the same OML that had fixed the once moribund NNPC pipeline that had not worked for over 8 years even without been paid by the government and today pipelines are delivering crude oil to the refinery without loss and over 1,000 youths empowered too.
“Those pipelines are still delivery crude with great success. It is the track record of the company that informed the award. Others were given the job and they failed whole fully with heavy crude losses on a daily basis.”
It was learnt from authoritative sources that NNPC and a security agency actually approached OML to save the situation and come to its rescue against allegations from uninformed persons that the award violated extant laws for award of contracts.
On his part, the president, Niger Delta Coalition of Coastal Communities, Chief Don Ben, in his reaction condemned the protesters and noted that it was unwarranted, ill motivated and staged managed.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Benin, Edo State,he said there was no iota of truth in all the allegations levelled against the contractor whom he said bided for the contract through due process and having met all the required conditions, got the job.
According to the ex militant commander, “I decided to react to the protest because as one of the leaders in the Niger Delta struggle all along, I saw the protest against Ocean Marine as a great embarrassment, especially when the chairman of the company is not only from the oil producing state but also from the oil producing communities of two local government areas of Orhionmwon and Ikpoba-Okha in Edo State.
“For the protesters to be accusing the chairman of Ocean Marine, Captain Hosa Okunbo of high jacking their job because Forcados Terminal is in their base in Delta State is far from the truth.
“It cut across the baseline, even I can say it, is closer to Rivers State and so they should not say Forcados Terminal is in their base in Delta State.
“Besides, I was particularly irked and disappointed when I discovered that this group of people who embarked on the protest are not even affiliated to the struggle of the Niger Delta, therefore their going to the Government House in Delta State to register their protest is unwarranted and ill motivated.
“I sincerely called on the Niger Delta governors, especially the governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to be weary of these sycophants who are trying to rubbish the name of Captain Hosa Okunbo, a successful businessman fighting hard to ensure that the Niger Delta youths are integrated fully in the system.
“The Captain Hosa Okunbo I know is a liberal man, he is a man that integrates all ethnic nationalities in the Nigerian contests, who interacts and employs people from the south, north, east and west and are all working in his establishment.
“Nobody can do it but my anger is that Captain Hosa is somebody from the south-south region and the protest is coming from the Niger Delta, so I see it as a very big embarrassment to the region.
“To be organising a protest against one of our own who has deemed it fit to say yes let me come up because we have been complaining that our people are not being integrated in this oil Industry, there is no oil block, there is no oil license being given to people from the Niger Delta or people from the south-south region,” he lamented.
Despite the huge successes recorded by OML, the spokesperson for Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Daniel Dasimaka, in a statement recently claimed that the new contract approved by the NNPC to Ocean Marine was already constituting security threat in the Niger Delta region.
“They might not have paid attention to the serious threat this poses to the peace and security of the communities and Delta State as a whole. There’s a running contract, approved by the operators of the assets to a contractor that has been doing an awesome job on the assets; no reports of negative incidences and the communities are happy,” he said.
He noted that awarding a security job to two different companies, in an area that is considered volatile is a perfect recipe for chaos and sabotage to the relative peace of the area.