The federal government says the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to private contractors was “the right decision”.
Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO), Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, said this on Tuesday at the 49th session of the state house briefing organised by the presidential communication team.
The contract renewal, reportedly worth N48 billion annually (N4b per month), was awarded to the ex-militant warlord, Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, by the Nigerian National Petroleum Limited.
Last week, the Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups demanded termination of the contract.
Pipeline protection contracts were first awarded to companies owned by former Niger-Delta militants in 2011.
Speaking on the contract, the NNPC GCEO said there was an urgent need to involve private entities and community stakeholders in end-to-end pipeline surveillance to support security agencies.
Kyari said that although the federal government is not dealing directly with the former warlord, it has signed a contract with a company in which Tompolo has interests.
“We need private contractors to man the right of way to these pipelines. So we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision,” he said.
Speaking further on vandalism and petroleum products theft, Kyari said the shutting down of pipelines in the country was deliberate, which affected the operations of the business and led to losses.
He said NNPCL has also borrowed $1 billion from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to fix the country’s refineries.
According to him, the lenders tied conditions for giving out the loan to the productivity of the refineries for them to recoup their money.
He promised that the NNPCL would deliver on the rehabilitation exercise.