By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Kinsley kuku has urged for the reintroduction of the Pipeline Protection Program suspended in 2012 as a measure to stem the rising tide of oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
The Pipeline Protection Programme was introduced in 2011 to curb oil theft and pipeline vandalism but suspended in 2012.
Blaming the failure of the programme stopped in 2012 on NNPC, kuku said it was wrong for NNPC to have awarded such contracts to people outside the domain of pipelines they are paid to protect.
“Pipeline Protection Programmme as wonderful workable as it was when introduced by NNPC was however bungled by the same NNPC by awarding contract of pipeline protection to people living outside the community or states the pipeline they are supposedly protecting are buried.
“For example, I cannot be an Arugbo Ijaw man from Ondo State and be awarded contract to protect pipelines buried in the soils of delta Rivers or Bayelsa state”, he said.
Kuku who added that the problem of oil theft in the Niger Delta region is a monumental concern for the entire country however disassociated trainees of the Amnesty programme from the menace,saying ”We reject the insinuation in the name of God and We will never align our beneficiaries to this new brand of oil thieves” .
His words: “We reject in the name of God that trainees of this programme are being linked to oil thieves. We will never align our beneficiaries to this new brand of oil thieves.
“I do want to sincerely believe that it is in the light of this that the Federal Government put together the Pipeline Protection Programme but the way the initial programme was packaged by the NNPC and I did tell the Minister of Petroleum, did not meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people of this country and particularly the Niger Delta people and and the communities.
“ I am from Arugbo in Ondo state, it is not possible to give Kingsley Kuku a contract to protect the pipelines in Bomadi in Delta state. So there is need for you to get the appropriate stakeholder in Eket to protect his pipeline because it is entirely the business of the hunger of the stomach. The man who can protect the pipeline in Akwa Ibom is the Akwa Ibom man who is the stakeholder. A man from Rivers state cannot go and protect it.
“So anytime you politicize contracting contracts of protection of pipelines or critical infrastructure in the oil and gas industry, we are likely to fail. It is in the light of this sir that I use this medium to urge the distinguished Senate through this committee that government should mandate the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum to immediately review the Pipelines Protection Projects which was stopped since January 2012 for better implementation”
Earlier during his budget defence, Kuku disclosed that the Programme has trained 18,000 while another set of 15,000 Malaysia trained ex-agitators were being e pelted in the country, and that the next phase would be post training management.
He added that the 2,000 piecemeal training was grossly inadequate to cover remaining 11,000 persons approved for training for before the Programme rounds off in 2015, and requested for Senate approval to increase the tally in this year’s budget, so as to ensure the completion.
Kuku further urged the Senate to approve a total Budget of N63,281,093,786.23 for the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the 2014 fiscal year, out of which, N35,830,845,072.10 constitute reintegration component and N23,625,000 for sustaining the FG commitment to N65,000 monthly stipends to 30,000 ex-agitators enrolled in the Programme in 2014.