Tensions in Niger Delta as Tom Ateke, Asari Dokubo battle Tompolo over pipeline contract

Ex-militant leaders, Tom Ateke and Asari Dokubo are presently at war with their counterpart, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, over the oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded to him.

Tompolo was awarded N4 billion monthly contract to lead the protection of oil pipelines across the six South-South States – Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Rivers.

Nigeria was producing around 1.6 million barrels per day as of July 2021. However, by July 2022, the output had dropped to around 1.1 million, due to this reason the federal government through Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has resolved to contract the ex-militant, Tompolo to combat oil theft.

But the decision to recruit the ex-commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) provoked former militant leaders.

Top on the list of those infuriated are HRH Ateke Tom (Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom) and Mujahid Asari Dokubo (Edi Abali 1 of Kalabari), whose supporters have threatened war.

Dokubo has been more vocal, questioning why another person was employed to guard the 83 kilometres of pipelines in his Kalabari territory of Rivers.

Prominent Itsekiri leader, Chief Mrs Rita Lori-Ogbebor believes the FG is wrong to have handed the pipeline security job to only Tompolo.

Read also: Tompolo vows to secure oil pipelines after N48 billion a year contract

The Igba of Warri Kingdom said the insecurity Nigerians should worry about “is not the type going on in the North, but that of the Niger Delta”.

“What we have today will be a child’s play if the insecurity fully manifests. If it has not, it will soon do so in another few months”, Rita Lori asserted.

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has set up a committee to investigate the disagreement over the contract and to make effort to resolve the matter amicably.

Last week, INC President Benjamin Okaba held separate meetings with Tompolo, Dokubo and King Ateke.

The Professor of sociology appealed to them to sheathe their sword for the sake of the people and not to jeopardize efforts on revenue generation.

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