Edwin Clark

Don’t interfere in surveillance contract, Clark warns Nigerians

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Elder statesman and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, has warned against interference in the pipeline surveillance contract given to the former militant leader, Government Ekpemepulo, popularly known as Tompolo.

This is as the governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, and the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress jointly resolved the disagreement among Ijaw sons over the oil pipeline surveillance contract.

A peace meeting to settle the feuding parties was convened at the instance of Diri, who presided over the parley alongside the President of the INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, in Yenagoa at the weekend.

The meeting also constituted a five-member monitoring committee to follow up on the successes of the parley in the interest of peace, unity and stability of the Ijaw nation and indeed the Niger Delta.

A communiqué titled, ‘We are stronger together,’ read to journalists by the INC President at the end of the meeting, said Asari Dokubo, Tompolo, Ateke Tom and others had agreed to co-operate and work in harmony and brotherliness.

The communiqué read, “We are irrevocably committed to the peace, unity, solidarity and stability of the Ijaw nation, and indeed other ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta.

“We are more determined than ever not to allow the pittance in the guise of an oil pipeline surveillance contract to create an arena of infighting and bloodshed in Ijaw land before, during and after the execution of the oil pipeline protection job.

“We are resolved to refrain from internal squabbles and seek ways of strengthening and deepening our unity and fostering peace in Ijaw land while resisting attempts, be it internal or external, to subjugate and further divide us.”

Meanwhile, Clark in a statement obtained by our reporter on Sunday night commended the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, for summoning a peace meeting of stakeholders.

The statement reads,” I am pleased that the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, in his usual manner, summoned a peace meeting of stakeholders at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday, primarily, to douse the tension generated by the divergent viewpoints of notable Ijaw sons over the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to High Chief Government Ekpemuplo, also known as, Tompolo.

“I warmly commend Governor Douye Diri, who, incidentally, is the “Governor General” of the Ijaw people, for his timely intervention and unfaltering commitment to the unity and peace of the Ijaw nation, the Niger Delta and by extension, the country. Likewise, I commend the zeal and patriotism of the President of the Ijaw National Congress, Professor Benjamin Okaba and the Ijaw leaders who were at the meeting.

“I also thank my sons, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, King Ateke Tom, High Chief Tompolo, and the other young people, for agreeing to bury the hatchet and work together in the interest of the Ijaw Nation, the region, and the nation at large.”

Continuing, Clark said, “I fully endorse the resolutions taken at the meeting and strongly advise that all the concerned stakeholders should adhere to and abide by the resolutions, and whatever further steps that would be taken to ensure that perceived differences are totally resolved and that our youths will now work together, in the spirit of brotherhood, to safeguard the relative peace in the region.

“We do not want further bickering and disorder in any part of the Niger Delta region.

“The region should not be distracted by these “soupcons”, let’s focus on the “big picture” of the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“It has also become imperative to further warn other Nigerians, and fifth columnists, interfering in the matters of the Niger Delta.

“And trying to stoke crisis in the region, particularly, about the surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo, to desist forthwith. Noting that the beneficiaries of the contract are bonafide sons of the Niger Delta, who are committed to the peace and stability of the region and the country. And that the unpatriotic elements should realize that there is nothing wrong in awarding contracts to any capable Niger Deltan, especially, to protect oil and gas assets that are situated in their backyards. Similar contracts have been awarded in the past to individuals, I do not understand, therefore, why the Tompolo case is made to look as if it is the only one.”


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