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Okuama killings: Ijaw youth group tackles ex-minister over remark on oil pipelines security

Okuama killings: Ijaw youth group tackles ex-minister over remark on oil pipelines security
March 22
23:06 2024

The Ijaw Youths Network (IJN) has criticised Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a former minister of defence, for dismissing the role of non-state actors in oil pipeline security.

Olanrewaju, while commenting on the recent killing of 17 army personnel in Okuama, a riverine community in Delta state, said the country’s resources in the region cannot be entrusted to non-state actors.

The officers were killed by some youths during a communal clash between the Okuama and Okoloba communities.

The former minister said “so-called non-state actors cannot protect our oil pipelines for lack of total patriotism”.


Reacting to the remark in a statement on Friday, Frank Ebikabo, coordinator of IJN, asked the former minister not to “stir needless controversy”.

Ebikabo said private security outfits were set up by previous administrations to tackle oil theft in the communities.

He said the ex-minister should be more concerned about apprehending those behind the killing of the soldiers.


He asked Olanrewaju not to be misguided by the “false narrative peddled by frustrated oil thieves and their cohorts who didn’t get the pipeline contract of the NNPCL”.

“The military assets of the country are already over stretched. Successive presidents have engaged private security outfits to fight the lethal scourge of oil theft in Nigeria. It is not unusual and it is a trend that is commonplace around the world,” the statement reads.

“Even developed countries such as the US and the UK also employ the services of private security consultants to maximize security of critical assets and facilities.

“Prior to the renewal of the contract of Tantita Security Services, the general had not found it necessary to besiege the media space about the purported inappropriateness of engaging private security outfit to fight oil theft.


“Perhaps, the various feats accomplished by Tantita and the widespread recognition accorded to the company should convince the general that private security outfits do not constitute any danger to the security of the nation’s critical oil pipelines.

“What should be of concern to the general is the sad story of oil theft that made the President and the NNPC to seek proactive response to the problem that threatened the nation’s existence.

“It is shocking that the general is reducing the cold blooded murder of soldiers as a fall out of gang violence in the region. This is an attempt to twist the facts of the matter.

“There is no link between the private security outfits and the gruesome murder of soldiers on lawful duty. This rush to throw curious, unsolicited advice should be beneath him.


“His suggestion is a personal opinion inspired by lack of understanding of the story of the nation’s oil sector or a classic case of selective amnesia.

“Such hurried viewpoints seem to suggest that some ingrained interests, who are jolted by the gains of the campaigns of oil theft, are at work.


“A general’s statement shouldn’t be in that direction.”


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