Ondo state governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Wednesday criticized the award of a controversial pipeline monitoring contract to a private security organization owned by a former agitator in the Niger Delta, Ekpemupolo government, also known as Tompolo.

Akeredolu, in a statement signed by him personally, picked holes in the award of the contract to private organizations, saying it is safe to conclude that the federal government has implicitly allowed non-state actors to carry heavy assault weapons while retaining the same privilege. denied to the states, the federated units.”

He said the commitment of private organizations to address serious security challenges reinforces the belief that the entire defense architecture in the country urgently needs to be overhauled and said it is shocking that the federal government awarded the contract to such security equipment.

Akeredolu said in the statement that “the news of the alleged award of pipeline contracts to some individuals and private organizations by the federal government has been disturbing.

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“More troubling is the thinly veiled hostility shown to the idea or actual creation of security equipment by some state governments to fill the widening gaps in the scope of security coverage that are noticeable nationally.

“The federal government, through the office of the National Security Adviser, has been consistent in its refusal to comply with requests from some states in the Federation to strengthen the additional initiatives adopted to protect life and property.

“This is done despite the knowledge that the very problems that necessitated the creation of these outfits support the provision of adequate weapons.

“All attempts to persuade the federal government to take a critical look at the current security architecture have been rejected, despite the obvious fundamental flaws caused by overcentralization.”

He further stated: “It is therefore shocking to read that the federal government has upheld the award of the contract to “protect” the country’s pipeline from vandals to private organizations.

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“If this story is true, it will leave a sour taste in the mouth. The NSA, of course, will not advise the president to approve the award of a contract of such magnitude if the operators have not demonstrated sufficient capacity to checkmate the criminal activities of equally powerful groups.

“Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the federal government has, by implication, allowed non-state actors to carry heavy assault weapons, while denying the same privilege to the states, the federated units.

“The award of contracts to private organizations to protect pipeline destruction raises fundamental questions about the sincerity of government advisers on safety issues.

“The open and seemingly enthusiastic embrace of this idiosyncrasy, despite the constant and consistent admission of a willingness by the security forces, especially the navy, to contain the pervasive and deeper crises of encroachments and threats to life and property, draws the charge of insincerity bordering on, deplorably, on doubt.

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“If the state governments, so eager to protect their citizens, put on additional security equipment and there is a pronounced unwillingness, if not outright refusal, to consider allowing them to carry weapons for the sole purpose of defence, The granting of private individuals and/or organizations’ unrestricted access to assault weapons, curiously, suggests deep-seated suspicion and mistrust between the federal government and the supposed federated units.

“The commitment of private organizations to address serious security challenges reinforces the belief that the entire defense architecture in the country urgently needs to be overhauled. In this regard, the federal government cannot play the ostrich.

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