The Muhammadu Buhari-led government has awarded a pipeline surveillance contract to a former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
Naija News learned that the contract signed between the government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and Tompolo is reportedly worth over a N4billion monthly.
A source told The Nation that following the contract, the former militant leader would help monitor and oversee other surveillance contracts, contractors and their activities in the entire Niger Delta.
The Commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) would also help the government end illegal bunkering, illegal refining and other forms of oil theft in the Niger Delta.
He said it was a similar role Tompolo played during the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan when Diezani Alison-Madueke was the Minister of Petroleum.
The source said: “The government merely reviewed and restored his old contract.
“Before the cancellation of his contract, the arrangements he put in place tackled illegal bunkering and increased production quota to over two million barrels per day.
“But the new government cancelled the contract, declared him wanted and he was later exonerated of all wrongdoings.
“They have realised the need to bring him back because currently, the country is losing over 500,000 barrels per day to illegal bunkering.”
The source said the new deal was brokered by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and some NNPC top officials including the Group Executive Director, Upstream, Adokiye Tombomelye.
He said NNPC as a new profit-making venture was determined to curb all illegal activities affecting its operations and making it run at a loss every month.
The source said Tompolo held a crucial stakeholders’ meeting in his Oporoza country home in the Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State on Wednesday.