4 February 2012
In an unprecdented move that clearly defies the law, the Federal Government has given out a whooping N16 billion contract for the patrolling of its waterways to a former militant Ijaw leader, Government Ekpemopolo, alias Tompolo, thereby robbing the Nigerian Navy of its sacred responsibility and setting the stage for a new wave of tension in the Niger Delta. Soni Daniel examines the implications of the action, which he notes amounts to surrndering the nation’s interest to an individual, who has neither capacity nor integrity to execute the controversial assignment.
The memo, which our dear President has already given a tacit approval, was dubbed, secret, and it was meant to be so treated. Ordinary mortals were forbidden from sighting it until its implementation.
But it was already leaked before it was discussed. “ACN kicks, as Tompolo takes over maritime security”. That was how one newspaper screamed on its front page a few minutes after the memo was belatedly and ingeniously presented to the FEC. There can be no justifiable explanation for the inexplicable handing over of the nation’s water ways to a man, whose only unique selling proposition is ability to operate smoothly in the vast meandering creeks and leaving many tales of woes behind without the armed forces being able to pin him down. The closest the army went in nailing the militant, was on May 14, 2009 when the Nigerian Navy struck the warlord’s hideout known as Camp 5 but he was not there at the time of the attack. He has no history of protecting any country’s territorial waters.