Kuku advocates review of pipeline protection programme

By The Citizen

Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Kingsley Kuku, on Saturday, called for the review of Pipeline Protection Programme introduced by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, in 2011, but was stopped by the same agency in 2012.

Kuku who is also the National Coordinator of the Amnesty programme for the ex-Niger Delta militants, blamed the failure of the programme on the NNPC, whose management allegedly awarded the contracts to 'people outside the domain of pipelines they are paid to protect.'

The Ondo state born politician stated this in Abuja on Friday while defending the 2014 budget of the Amnesty programme in 2014 before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.

He said, 'Pipeline Protection Programmme as wonderful and workable as it was when introduced by NNPC was however bungled by the same NNPC by awarding contract of pipeline protection to people living outside the community or states the pipeline they are supposedly protecting are buried.

'For example, I cannot be an Arugbo Ijaw man from Ondo State and be awarded contract to protect pipelines buried in the soils of Delta Rivers or Bayelsa state.'

Kuku described the problem of oil theft in the Niger Delta region is a monumental concern for the entire country.

He disassociated trainees of the Amnesty programme from the menace.

'We reject in the name of God that trainees of this programme are being linked to oil thieves. We will never align our beneficiaries to this new brand of oil thieves.

'I do want to sincerely believe that it is in the light of this that the Federal Government put together the Pipeline Protection Programme but the way the initial programme was packaged by the NNPC and I did tell the Minister of Petroleum, did not meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people of this country and particularly the Niger Delta people and and the communities.

'I am from Arugbo in Ondo state, it is not possible to give Kingsley Kuku a contract to protect the pipelines in Bomadi in Delta state. So there is need for you to get the appropriate stakeholder in Eket to protect his pipeline because it is entirely the business of the hunger of the stomach.

'The man who can protect the pipeline in Akwa Ibom is the Akwa Ibom man who is the stakeholder. A man from Rivers cannot go and protect it.

'So anytime you politicise contracting contracts of protection of pipelines or critical infrastructure in the oil and gas industry, we are likely to fail,” he said.

He therfore urged the Senate to mandate the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum to immediately review the Pipelines Protection Projects which was stopped since January 2012 for better implementation.

Kuku said the amnesty programme had trained 18,000 people while another set of 15,000 Malaysia-trained ex-agitators were being expected in the country very soon.

He added that the 2,000 piecemeal training was grossly inadequate to cover the remaining 11,000 persons approved for training before the Programme rounds off in 2015.

He then requested for Senate approval to increase the tally in this year's budget, so as to ensure the completion.

Kuku further urged the Senate to approve a total Budget of N63,281,093,786.23 for the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the 2014 fiscal year, out of which, N35,830,845,072.10, constitute reintegration component and N23,625,000 for sustaining the FG commitment to N65,000 monthly stipends to 30,000 ex-agitators enrolled in the Programme in 2014.