By Emmanuel Ochonogor
ABUJA/Nigeria: The last may not have been heard from the issue of contracts awarded to some Niger Delta Chieftains to protect the oil pipelines that run across the region against vandals, as the Isoko youths have called on the President, Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of ethnic biases and corruption.
In the latest development the President of the Isoko Youth Council of Nigeria, IYCN, through its legal counsel, Stanley Okonmah and Co, called on the government to correct the imbalance to avoid any breakdown of Law and order.
According to the petition made available to www.thebrief.com.ng, Stanley Okonmah was directed to act on behalf of the IYCN by its National President, Mr. Mathew Edugbo.
The document reminded the federal government not to take the People of Isoko for granted, especially with their past history of the people under the leadership of Fred Obe who was the first to carrying out a revolution against the state.
The petition reminded the NNPC management and the Minister, of the fact that the Isoko nation carries 28 percent of the oil facilities that service the Nigerian economy. It, therefore, called on the company to as a matter of urgency, reverse the contract to benefit the people of Isoko, accusing the the Managing Director of the Upstream, NNPC and the Minister who are both of Ijaw extraction of carrying out an action that only favoured their kinsmen.
The petition frowned at the total disregard and marginalisation of the people of Isoko in the process of awarding the contract job, with that of the Isoko nation going to other persons.
The petition stated “As you are aware, Sometime in August 2022, a contract for the surveillance of the oil pipeline in the entire Niger Delta Region, was awarded to one Mr. Government Ekpemukpolo, (Tompolo) an Ijaw man from Okorenkoko, in Niger Delta, without recourse to an Isoko representative, body or council”.
“It should be noted that the combined efforts of the COO Upstream Mr. Adokiye Tombomieye and the Minister for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who brokered the deal are both Ijaw men from Rivers and the Bayelsa States.”
It went further to state that the said signed contract is riddled with signs of corruption, especially with the fact that the COO of the NNPC Upstream had been severally accused of corruption.
“In the same vein, their move to award the contract to their kinsmen reeks of corruption and pecuniary interests which is inimical to the development and probity of the Nigerian Government.”
The petition stated that Mr. Adokiye had before the contract was signed, promised the Isoko Leaders in his office that part of it will be given to the nation, but is now disheartening that he never kept to his word.
“Mr. Adokiye Tombomieye has promised Isoko Leaders in his office in Abuja, that he will give part of the Surveillance Contract to Isoko youths. It’s therefore disheartening and to our greatest dismay that he would renege on his promise.”
The IYCN, therefore, called on the president to use his office to investigate the contract and rearward to ensure that the Isoko nation, and youths are carried along, as they cannot fold their hands.
It also demanded that a fresh contract be awarded where the interest of the Isoko people will be taken into consideration, with a company chosen by stakeholders from the region or alternatively, to create a subcontract from the already signed one.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Chief Operating Office of the NNPC Upstream, Mr. Adokiye Tombomieye for his response on the allegations failed as he did not respond to calls and messages sent to him through WhatsApp and SMS before going to press.