Surveillance Contract Fallout, Police and Army Averts Violence in Delta State

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The pipeline security surveillance contract recently awarded to former militant, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, is causing ripples in Delta State, as hundreds of Isoko indigenes, mostly women and youths, on Wednesday, embarked on a protest over alleged exclusion.

Recall that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) recently announced the re-award of the pipeline security surveillance contract to Tompolo to the tune of N4 billion.

The protesters, who blocked major highways in the Isoko part of the state, insisted that the alleged exclusion must be addressed by the Federal Government or be ready for a showdown.

It took the effort of a combined security team led by men and officers of 63 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Asaba, to bring the protest, which was already degenerating, under control.

Our correspondent gathered that the protesters had trooped out as early as 7:00a.m, barricading the very busy Ozoro-Kwale-Asaba expressway

Vehicular movements were obstructed with used tyres, planks and iron drums along the axis in order to register their grievances on what they alleged was the marginalisation of Isoko land in the surveillance contact.

The protesters were armed with tugs of trees and placards with different inscriptions chanting solidarity songs and demanding justice and fairness from the Federal Government.

An eye witness, who pleaded anonymity, said “It got to a point when the peaceful protest was getting rowdy and the protesters were beginning to get out of control as hoodlums were seen to have infiltrated their midst in order to hijack the protest and cause mayhem.

“It was at this point at about 11:30a.m that the security operatives, led by 63 Brigade Officer In Charge of Defence Company at Kwale, Major S.O Ibitoye, led the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ozoro, and other security outfits, to address the protesters and pleaded with them to vacate the highway”.

The appeal made by the security operatives, it was gathered, yielded positive results as the protesters dismantled their barricades to restore a free flow of traffic on the highway.

As of 1:45p.m, normalcy had been restored in the area as residents went about their normal daily activities unhindered.

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