By Lilian Ogbonna, For Agenda Watchdog, April 15, 2020
(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – A conflict is brewing in Bayelsa State between the state government and surveillance contractors charged with the task of protecting oil pipelines and other critical oil infrastructure in the state.
The hornet’s nest was stirred when the Deputy Governor of the state, Lawrence Ehwrudjakpo, called for an extensive review of all surveillance contracts in the state when the House of Representatives Committee on Nigerian Navy visited the state.
In the view of Ehwrudjakpo, the surveillance contractors were undeserving of the security contracts as they were guilty of aiding and abetting criminality in the state, rather than doing the jobs they were hired for, suggesting that the contracts be revoked and awarded to the Nigerian Navy.
However, the contractors have refuted the accusation of the Bayelsa State Government, calling it a baseless and unfounded attempt to portray security contractors in the state in bad light, stressing that they rescued Bayelsa from the comatose security situation it was in when they came on board due to the activities of oil thieves.
Pipeline surveillance contracts are awarded to private firms by government agencies and oil companies. Surveillance contractors are ostensibly tasked with monitoring sections of oil pipeline, identifying any breaks and protecting them from vandalism.