Protesters, under the auspices of Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups, yesterday, stormed the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, demanding the termination of a multi-million dollar pipeline contract awarded to the former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (popularly known as Tompolo).
The demonstrators, a coalition of 225 youth groups in the North, warned that they would paralyze activities at NNPC headquarters if the contract is not revoked in seven days.
The protesters brandished banners with inscriptions, reading: “How can a fugitive be in charge of national assets’, ‘Chief of Defence Staff militarising other zones but romancing Niger Delta militants’, ‘revoke the pipeline contract now’, among others.
A spokesperson for the groups, Victor Duniya, said the contract implied that “a private citizen like Tompolo will be allowed to handle not just light but sophisticated weapons to be able to ward off possible attacks from vicious oil bunkering cartels.”
The Federal Government had reportedly renewed a multi-million dollar pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo, who was Commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).
According to Duniya, the development is coming at a time the North is bleeding profusely due to activities of terrorist elements, while youths are not allowed to get weapons to defend their communities.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd., Mele Kyari, and Group Executive Director, Upstream, Adokiye Tombomelye, over the roles.