Warri-based knowledge building group, the Warri Study Group (WSG) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to cancel a Federal Government contract awarded to Global West Vessel Service to secure Nigerian coastline, as the company’s link to an ex-militant leader is a big threat to national security.
Reacting to media reports that the Global West Vessel Service, a private company believed to be controlled by one-time militant leader, Chief Ekpemupolo, a.k.a Tompolo, has added seven decommissioned Norwegian battleships to its weaponry, the group released a statement signed by its Chairman, Edward Ekpoko and Tony Ede, Secretary, where it noted that if there is any truth in reports that the fast-speed Hulk-class guided missile boats had been re-armed with new weaponry, purportedly to fight piracy, then danger looms.
“Tompolo was a known militant granted amnesty by the Yar’adua administration and controls the private company engaged by NIMASA to oversee the security of the Nigerian coastline during Jonathan’s administration.
“President Jonathan, Tompolo and the DG of NIMASA are all of Ijaw extraction. We see a script being acted out. Nigeria is the only country where an individual is awarded contract to oversee the security of the coastline of a nation with powers to import warships and sophisticated arms.
“The question that begs for answer is this: What is the role of the Nigerian Navy in the security of the Nigerian coastline? Is the Ministry of Defence aware of all these arms deals?”
The group noted that it has been more than a year since the award of the contract, but illegal oil bunkering, piracy, pipeline vandalization and other related crime has increased in the Niger Delta.
“Are these warships and arm deals to fight piracy and other criminal activities on our coastline or to intimidate other ethnic nationalities or cause destabilization as in the North East?”, the WSG queried.
The WSG therefore called on Jonathan to intervene by withdrawing the contract awarded by NIMASA. It warned that “In the unfortunate event of weapons being turned against other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta, those involved will be held responsible for crime against humanity by the international community even if Nigerian government fails to act.”