The Federal Government’s decision to grant pipeline surveillance contracts to companies and blocs across the southern and eastern states has raised concerns among members of the Eastern Youths Coalition for Equity. In a press conference held in Abuja, the group voiced their apprehension, asserting that this move has sparked intense debates and provoked unrest among multiple factions in the eastern states. Mr. Edwin Nkwede, the conference convener, expressed his distress over the awards bestowed upon non-indigenous companies, emphasising that they were intended for businesses within the eastern region.
Speaking further, he expressed that the relevance of the coalition’s protest had grown, particularly because the Federal Government was on the verge of renewing the contract. The alliance comprises various advocacy groups from the oil-rich states in the eastern region of Nigeria, specifically the states of Abia, Anambra, and Imo. The Eastern Youth Coalition for Equity emerged as a result of a gathering convened in Umuahia, Abia State, wherein youth leaders from the eastern region of Nigeria were selected to participate. This coalition aims to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation and promote fair treatment.
Other parties should be involved in contract awarding.
During the gathering, concerns revolving around the well-being of the Igbo region were itemised and deliberated upon. Of utmost importance to their alliance is the manner in which multiple companies managed the pipeline surveillance contracts awarded to them by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited. From existing records, as a collective, they have pieced together information that unveils the division of the pipeline surveillance contract into three distinct sections: the eastern corridor, central corridor, and western corridor.
Also, the contract for the eastern corridor was obtained by a limited pipeline infrastructure, which is under the ownership and management of the Olu of Warri and his family. On the other hand, the central and western corridors were secured by Tantita Security Services Limited, which is owned and managed by Chief Ekpemupolo Government, popularly known as Tompolo, a former agitator of the Ijaw community, as mentioned. He added that there was a clear understanding that the eastern region encompassed the states of Abia, Imo, and Anambra in Nigeria, which are known for their oil production.
All available legal means will be utilised to address the concerns.
He stated that the displeasure of the Igbo people regarding the neglect of the eastern region is widely acknowledged and no longer a new issue. He pointed out that the security reports emerging from the eastern states were highly unsatisfactory, emphasising that this reality was a well-known fact to all Nigerians. In contrast to embracing the mounting wave of restive protests, the coalition of eastern youth for fairness, according to Mr. Nkwede, has opted to exhaustively utilise all available legal means to address the concerns of the majority of young people in the Eastern region effectively.
More so, the convener implored the federal government to actively use its authority to persuade contractors to create avenues for the youth of the coalition. This would enable them to effectively advocate for the ideas and goals of the young population in the region. Furthermore, the convener requested the intervention of the FG in dealing with the authorities and individuals overseeing subcontracting. The aim is to ensure that the forthcoming re-awarding process exclusively selects a company endorsed by the coalition.
Igboland should be considered when implementing the strategy.
Lastly, he placed great emphasis on the importance of fostering robust connections among members of the coalition as a means to ensure efficient oversight of the oil facilities in the area. He advocated for these connections to be forged through youth organisations and mandated by law. He underscored the value of integrating Igboland into strategy, expressing optimism for favourable results from the Federal Government. This approach would promote fairness and equitable distribution while simultaneously involving and empowering the younger generation.