The pioneer chairman of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Ahmed Tijani Ramalan, has revealed that the agency pays the sum of N1.5bn every month to the ex-militant leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, to protect the nation’s maritime areas, yet we have a military.
Dr Ramalan, however, lamented that despite such fraudulent deal, Nigeria still loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis from the nation’s shores.
He said, “Over 400,000 barrels of crude oil are being stolen daily from our shores under President Jonathan; yet we had a government that has the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and the government of Jonathan decides to hand over the security of our maritime waters to Tompolo at a very exorbitant amount of money.
“And these same people that are given the job of our maritime security are the ones that are collaborating with the international shipping companies to steal our oil.”
The former NIMASA chairman, who revealed this in an interview with LEADERSHIP in Kaduna, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel the contract given to the ex-militant by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
He said one of the ways to help the country’s economy to bounce back is to revoke Tompolo’s contract.
“And if Buhari does not do so, we will be the first to start attacking him. There is no basis to give that kind of billions of naira job to ex-militants,” he declared.
Making further clarification on how long the payment has been going on, Ramalan said it started “sometime after 2011 when Jonathan won his election and since then the payment has been on.
“I was the pioneer chairman of NIMASA, and NIMASA is the one funding the contract given to Tompolo. This is a guy that is collecting about N1.5bn every month and yet our Armed Forces are not well funded. So, we call on the president to discard such contract...
“We believe the country needs a leader that is not corrupt, because the issue of corruption in the country has led the country to its knees.
“The country would have gone down if the administration of Jonathan was allowed to continue. For us, we believe that having a new leader is what the country needs because of the massive corruption. We believe in President Buhari; we believe there is hope in having him as the president.”
Tompolo keeps mum
Attempt by LEADERSHIP to get clarification on the allegation from Tompolo wasn’t successful. Initial calls made to his spokesperson, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo went unanswered, likewise SMS but he later replied to an SMS sent to him saying “I will get across to my boss.”
He never got back again to LEADERSHIP up to the time of going to press when several calls around 11:27pm where again made to him.