Nigeria’s federal government has made a volte face by re-awarding the Pipeline Surveillance and Security contract to former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo.
A former commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Tompolo was earlier awarded the same contract by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
On coming to power in 2015, the Buhari administration had cancelled the contract.
The deal is seen by observers as a desperate measure to halt illegal bunkering, illegal refining and oil theft in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta.
Currently, Nigeria is losing over 500,000 barrels per day to oil theft.
Upon signing the deal, associates of the ex-militant leader report that Tompolo on Wednesday convened a meeting in his Oporoza home in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State.
In attendance were ex-presidents of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Chris Ekiyor, Udengs Eradiri and Eric Omare.
Others were priests of Egbesu, Ijaw religious organisation, led by Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei; leaders of Niger Delta youth groups, heads of cult groups.
Also, in attendance were former MEND commanders – Eris Paul, aka General Oguboss; Pius Wareyal, aka General Pius; Joshua Macaiver, Pastor Reuben Wilson, Young Shall Grow – and second phase “generals.”