A revelation that will surely raise eyebrows have been put out in the public space by the first chairman of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Ahmed Ramalan.
Ramalan told Leadership that the agency’s financial contract with the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, is in the tune of 1.5 billion Naira.
The contract is for Tompolo’s men to protect the Nigeria’s maritime areas. Ramalan went on to say that despite the huge sum of money paid to the ex-militant leader, Nigeria still loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to terminate the contract which was the brain child of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He said, “Over 400, 000 barrels of crude oil are being stolen daily from our shores under President Jonathan; yet we had a government that has the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and the government of Jonathan decides to hand over the security of our maritime waters to Tompolo at a very exorbitant amount of money.
“And these same people that are given the job of our maritime security are the ones that are collaborating with the international shipping companies to steal our oil.”
“And if Buhari does not do so, we will be the first to start attacking him. There is no basis to give that kind of billion naira job to ex-militants,” he declared.
He continued, “I was the pioneer chairman of NIMASA, and NIMASA is the one funding the contract given to Tompolo. This is a guy that is collecting about N1.5bn every month and yet our Armed Forces are not well funded. So, we call on the president to discard such contract”.
Attempts by Leadership to get Tompolo’s side of the story was not successful as calls made to his spokesperson, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo was not answered, likewise SMS messages. He however replied later saying, “I will get across to my boss”. He never got back again before press time.
Meanwhile, another ex-militant leader,Chief Ateke Tom, who is the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, has pledged his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari.