Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has knocked a pipeline protection contract award to private organisations linked to former MEND leader, Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo.
Akeredolu in a statement he personally signed, asked why the Federal Government, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, has been consistent in its refusal to accede to the request by some States in the Federation to strengthen the complementary initiatives adopted to protect lives and property.
The Ondo state Governor who stressed the belief that the whole defence architecture in the country needs an urgent overhaul has been reinforced by engagement of private organisations to handle serious security challenges, added that it is 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.
Akeredolu also said the NSA would not advise the President to approve the award of a contract of such magnitude if the operators had not displayed sufficient capacity to checkmate the criminal activities of equally powerful groups.
The statement read;
“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.”