Pipeline Surveillance: Absence Of Critical Leaders Of The Struggle In Rivers State Stirs Reactions As Asari Visits Ateke Tom
The absence of Hon. Farah Dagogo and High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich (Eberipapa), two critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta struggle in Rivers State, have continued to elicit mixed reaction in the state and beyond, as the Supreme Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo Asari, Alabo Edi-Abali of Kalabari Kingdom led a delegation comprising of some frontline leaders of the struggle from Bayelsa and beyond like Chief, Bibopiri Ajube a.k.a Gen Shootaside, Hon. Victor Ben Ebikabowei a.k.a Gen Boyloaf among others to the Palace of His Royal Majesty King Michael Ateke Tom, the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom and Sekuro 1 of Niger Delta for a very crucial meeting, and deliberations on the highly sought after petroleum pipelines security surveillance among others .
Apparently, when it comes to frontline stakeholders of the struggle in Rivers State, High Chief Ateke Tom, Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo, High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich (Egberipapa) and Hon. Farah Dagogo completes the Rivers Big Four. These four have worked closely as a unit, even from 2012 when this contract was first awarded by the Yaradua administration on state to state basis.
However, newsmen who covered the Okochiri event are worried that the absence of the likes of Hon. Farah Dagogo and High Chief Egberipapa may have once again confirmed the alleged growing sentiments, bickering and crack among the Big Four in Rivers state, and leaving unanswered question if Hon. Farah Dagogo and High Chief Egberipapa are working for Tantita Security Service Nigeria, a company owned by former militant leader and commander of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) Tompolo.
According to a source close to one of the ex-militant leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity said the meeting was convened to strategize ways to oversee the pipeline surveillance contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
According to the source, the ex-agitators also discussed the need for the surveillance contract to be shared or decentralized,
saying the meeting was premised on the fact that the pipeline surveillance job achieved so much success when it was awarded to each of the Niger Delta states where the pipelines were domiciled. According to him, the leaders of the struggle in each of the states who benefitted from the 2012 contract by the Late President Yar’adua were familiar with their terrain hence they successfully carried out their jobs. Like in Rivers State, High Chief Ateke Tom, Mujahid Asari, I Chief Egberipapa and Farah Dagogo worked in unity, so was others in other states. The Okociri meeting may not be unconnected with strategies to see how this pipeline surveillance contract can be more efficient through establishment of a more decentralized system to allow each state to handle their terrain for more efficacy, instead of handing the bulk job to a sole company to manage for the entire Niger Delta.
Expectations is that the Ijaw Nation is a decentralized ethnic nationality, hence it is expedient to ensure that diversity becomes the strength rather than a beacon of divisiveness, as such collective understanding geared towards reasonable unity, peace, and security is expected to be the utmost priority.
While speaking to newsmen about this development in Akwa-Ibom State, a critical stakeholder of the struggle in the state General Ofon Ette lashed out at Tompolo for entrenching sentiment and not carrying along some of the frontline leadership in Akwa Ibom, Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Imo and even Anambra along in the scheme of things.
He said in the year under review, there have been complaints from critical stakeholders in the struggle from these states. “While I commend the federal government who are now abreast with the fact that they lack the strength to manage the security of our pipelines, and consequently gave it to Tompolo, I want to congratulate Tompolo for winning the contract, but he should know that he cannot do it alone but must as a priority reach out to some of these leaders in each of the struggle across other states, instead of working with a few and applying the divide and rule tactics.