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Since Nigerian govt can award security contract to Tompolo, then it should allow state policing —Akeredolu



Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has faulted the N4 billion pipeline protection contract awarded to former militant leader and founder of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.

Akeredolu, while expressing his reservation on the award of the contract by the Federal Government, noted that engaging private organisations and individuals to handle critical security issues in the country had further reinforced the belief that the defence architecture in the country needs an urgent overhaul.

In a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, the Governor wondered why the Government, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, has refused to accede to the request by some states to “strengthen the complementary initiatives adopted to protect lives and property” but rather went ahead to engage non state actors in the protection of a critical asset like the nation’s pipelines.

Read also:Akeredolu clarifies comment banning teachers from enrolling their kids in private schools

Akeredolu said it was safe to conclude that the Federal Government has, impliedly, permitted non-state actors to bear heavy assault weapons while denying same privilege to the States, the Federating units.

“The news concerning the purported award of pipeline contracts to some individuals and private organisations by the Federal Government has been unsettling.

“More disquieting is the barely disguised hostility displayed against either the idea or the actual establishment of security outfits by some State Governments to fill the widening gaps in the scope of security coverage noticeable nationally.

“All attempts to persuade the Federal Government to look, critically, into the current security architecture have been rebuffed despite the manifest fundamental defects engendered by over-centralisation.

“The award of contract to private organisations to protect vandalisation of pipelines raise fundamental questions on the sincerity of the advisers of the Government on security issues.

“The open and seeming enthusiastic embrace of this oddity, despite the constant and consistent avowal of the readiness by the Security Agencies in particular the Navy to contain the pervasive and deepening crises of breaches and threats to lives and property, attracts the charge of insincerity bordering, deplorably, on dubiety.

“If the State Governments, which are keenly desirous of protecting their citizens, establish ancillary security outfits and there has been pronounced reluctance, if not outright refusal, to consider permitting them to bear arms for the sole purpose of defence, granting private individuals and or organisations unfettered access to assault weapons suggests, curiously, deep-seated suspicion and distrust between the Federal Government and the presumed federating units.

“The Federal Government cannot be seen to be playing the Ostrich in this regard.”

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