The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will deploy 500 drones and aircraft to monitor pipelines and other oil installations in a bid to protect the country’s oil and gas infrastructure from attacks by militant groups.
The Commandant-General of the NSCDC said on Monday that the move was part of the new Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s initiative to step up efforts to tackle the issue. He noted that drones had already been deployed on test runs in the Niger Delta region.
The paramilitary NSCDC was formed in 2003 to support Nigeria’s police forces, with a central function of protecting the country’s besieged pipelines.
Pipeline attacks have long been a scourge for Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, with recent estimates pegging production losses at as much as 400,000 barrels of oil per day.
The Street Journal on June 16 reported that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) terminated the N9.3 billion surveillance contracts offered to some former Niger Delta militants and self-determination groups.
It was learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari embargoed the renewal of the multimillion dollars pipeline surveillance contracts which expired last week. In March, the Federal Government under erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan through the NNPC had handed over the job of protecting the nation’s oil and gas pipelines and waterways to former militants and selfdetermination groups.
Among the beneficiaries of the contracts are Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), Mujaheed Asari-Dokubo and Chief Bipobiri Ajube (aka Gen. Shoot-At-Sight) alongside Fasehun and Gani Adams of OPC.
The terms of the contracts detailed seven companies to operate in allocated “regions” or operational areas: Egbe Security River One (Bayelsa), Gallery Security (Mosinmi-Ore), Close Body Protection (Edo State), Adex Energy Security (Rivers), Donyx Global Concept (Lagos and Ogun), Oil Facilities Surveillance (Delta) and New Age Global Security (Mosinmi-Ibadan). Checks by New Telegraph revealed that the President decided to wait till the expiration of the three-month contracts.
“He has embargoed the renewal of the contracts to these groups. They are just three-month contracts and it is best to allow them to expire than to terminate them. He was advised not to rock the boat and he followed that advice,” a source at the Presidency told this newspaper. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) confirmed that the contracts have not been renewed.