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Pipeline Contract: N/Delta Groups Tackle Ogbebor Over Opposition To Tompolo
Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Three prominent groups, the Niger Delta Movement For Radical Change (NDMRC), the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday berated rights activist and prominent Itsekiri leader, Mrs. Rita-Lori Ogbebor over her opposition to the award of a N4.5 billion surveillance contract to former leader of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo.
The groups expressed sadness that a Niger Deltan like Ogbebor would be against the move by the federal government to sustain the peace enjoyed in the region and also increase the nation’s revenue that has nose-dived due to the unwholesome activities of oil bunkering.
Ogbebor had in a publication on Tuesday cautioned the federal government against igniting war in the oil rich region and called for the immediate revocation of the pipelines surveillance contract to individuals in the area
Reacting to her call however, the NDMRC condemned Ogbebor and Asari Dokubo over their respective positions on the N4.5 billion monthly pipeline contract awarded to Tompolo.
The NDMRC described both Ogbebor and Dokubo as enemies of the Niger Delta region who were promoting tribal war.
According to a statement by its President, Nelly Emma; Secretary, John Sailor, and Public Relations Officer, Stanley Mukoro, NDMRC urged the Itsekiri leader to shun tribal sentiment and promote unity among the people of the region.
The group stated that it was only those into illegal bunkering that would oppose the award of the pipeline contract adding “For the avoidance of doubt, we want to let Chief (Mrs) Rita-Lori Ogbebor to know that Tompolo has magnanimously sublet the Itsekiri aspect of the pipeline contract to an Itsekiri son, Chief Emami Ayiri in his determination to carry everybody along as far as the pipeline contract is concerned.
“Chief (Mrs) Rita-Lori Ogbebor is certainly on her own because only recently Itsekiri youths stormed Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta where they declared their support for Tompolo and promised to work with him on the pipeline contract awarded to him by the federal government.”
With the award of the contract, NDMRC expressed confidence that the time was up for, “those deeply involved in the illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta Region that have destroyed the ecosystem in the area and led to loss of revenue by the federal government and it is Tompolo that can help the government to halt the illegal bunkering.”
On its part, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) maintained that instead of anarchy, the award of the contract to Tompolo would usher sustainable peace and increase the dwindling revenue fortunes of the country.
The IYC Western zone made up of Edo, Delta and Ondo, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Doubra Collins Okotete; Secretary, Omaghomi Olu-Derimon and Information Officer, Lugard Izoukumor insisted that the contract would bring stability to the Niger Delta region.
“First, contrary to the wrong impression created by Chief Rita-Lori, there is no anarch that could arise from the award of surveillance contract to Tompolo instead it would bring stability to the Niger Delta region and increase Nigeria’s oil production.
“We make bold to say that Chief Rita-Lori lives in Lagos and Abuja, hence she is not aware of current state of affairs in the region. Furthermore, if she is asking for Tompolo’s contract to be revoked, what about the one awarded to her traditional ruler, the Olu of Warri?” the group queried.
The IYC therefore urged her and others claiming leadership in the Niger Delta to proffer ideas and closely work with Tompolo on how everyone could win rather than, “these charade, narcissistic and divisive comments.”
The Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI) on its part, called on the federal government not to heed the opposition to the award of surveillance contract to Tompolo and other Niger Deltans, noting that the project would create millions of job opportunities for the teeming youths of the region.