Nigeria-based Tantita security services limited operatives face death threats after uncovering illegal pipelines used in crude oil theft in various parts of the Niger Delta.
Operatives of the company owned by Ex-Niger Delta militant leader, Oweizide Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, have been going across the region and recording the achievements in their work.
Confirming the recent developments, Dr Paul Bebenimiboa, a media consultant with Tompolo, told Leadership Sunday that Tantita security operatives came under the attack of gunmen who were desperate to continue using the illegal pipelines for theft of crude oil.
Waterway Crayfish, an aid in the security company, quoted Tompolo warning those trying to scare him and his household with death threat messages over the pipeline surveillance job he secured from the Federal Government are saboteurs who have to contend with his security outfit.
“For threat messages, it is normal. Since illegal oil vessels were intercepted some weeks ago, the threat messages assumed a dangerous dimension. Just yesterday (last week), they sent messages to threaten me, but we have remained unperturbed. It is something we can handle. We are knowledgeable about the operation in the territorial waters of Nigeria, and as a former militant, I clearly have the capacity to combat any possible attack from any illegal bunkerer with my men,” he said.
A few weeks after the NNPC awarded pipeline surveillance contract Tompolo’s company to stop illegal bunkering activities, Topolo’s security team found a 4 km-long illegal oil pipeline that had been used for 9 years to siphon oil from the Forcados Terminal through the high seas.
The surveillance of the crude oil pipelines and operations to stop illegal bunkering has received mixed reactions with other leaders praising the move with the view that it will revive the country’s slumping economy attributed to the illegal bunkering, while other activists viewing the discovery of illegal pipelines as just a tip of the iceberg in the numerous illegal dealings yet to be uncovered.
Apart from clashing with armed millitants on the high seas, a potential bloody clash with a group of youth protesting over non-inclusion in the 4 billion Naira pipeline surveillance contract was averted.