Sari Dokubo, Tompolo, other militants also got contacts to secure pipelines – OPC.
The National Co-ordinator of the O’odua Peoples Congress, OPC, has justified the group’s controversial contract to secure crude oil pipelines in South-west Nigeria.
He said President Goodluck Jonathan had already awarded such contracts to Niger Delta militants and that the OPC deserved its share.
Gani Adams, in an interview with The Punch newspaper, stated that securing the pipelines is an empowerment programme for its members and the group is the best qualified for the job in the South West.
“There is nothing wrong for leaders of such an organisation to apply for that because they have suffered detention and illegal arrests in the past and have been brutalised.
“For a group that has been doing a lot of things for the society free of charge, it is not too much to apply for a security job. Protecting pipelines is not a rosy job too because it involves lives. If OPC is offered the job, I don’t think it is asking for too much,” said Mr. Adams.
“There is no group that can secure the entire states. The job given to Tompolo is just for about two states, some part of Ondo and Delta states for about N8.5 billion.
“The one given to Asari Dokubo was for part of Rivers State for the sum of N1.6 billion and the same job was given to self determination leaders in Bayelsa State,” he added.
Mr. Adams also said that the OPC had been involved in pipeline protection since 2005 without cases of vandalization until the police took over, last year.
“For a period of eight years, our low cadre officers secured the pipeline from Sagamu to Ore. It was just last year when the police bid for the job that NNPC gave it to them and they began to have vandalism issues,” said Mr. Adams.
“The pipeline that passes through Imota from Ikorodu, it is OPC that is securing it. But when the problem of Arepo happened, we then decided to write a proposal to the NNPC and the minister of petroleum that OPC has the capacity to secure the entire South-West.”
Controversy had surrounded the award of the contract to protect Nigeria’s oil pipelines in the South-west region.
Critics have accused a faction of the OPC, led by Fredrick Fasehun, of using the proceed of the contract to resuscitate the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria.
But Mr. Fasehun issued a statement, earlier this week, debunking claims that the federal government had awarded his group the contract, adding that the government is yet to respond to their proposal, “although we have been to Abuja to defend our proposal at several interviews.”
Mr. Adams insisted that the pipeline security job “is purely business.”
“It is not as if we are asking for free money. OPC getting involved in pipeline protection is not a bad idea; for any organisation to be accepted, it needs empowerment,” Mr. Fasehun said.
Mr. Adams however explained that he and Mr. Faseun are not working together and that they sent two separate proposals to government on the contract.
“Dr. Fasehun sent a proposal but I don’t know whether he was aware that I sent mine; you know we have two parallel groups,” he said.