Governor Diri urged the Federal Government to reconsider this security approach, emphasizing that it could lead to regrettable consequences in its endeavor to safeguard the nation's economic assets within its territorial domain.
This stance was articulated during a courtesy visit to Governor Diri by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, at the Government House in Yenagoa on Monday.
Recent tensions between the Nigerian Navy and Tantita Security Services Limited, a private security outfit owned by former Niger Delta militant leader Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), have highlighted the challenges arising from the Federal Government's decision to award a multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance contract to the private firm.
Governor Diri expressed apprehensions about the potential escalation of security challenges with the continued reliance on unconventional security agents. He urged for a reinforcement of the Nigerian Navy to fulfill its constitutional responsibility.
Represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Governor Diri argued against allowing private individuals and groups to independently execute oil pipeline surveillance and protection contracts without the oversight of conventional security agencies.
He said, “The cry of the Bayelsa State Government is that non-state actors are not the best to protect our oil assets. In the name of oil pipeline protection contracts, most of them violate the rights of our people in our localities.
“Let us not do things that we will regret as a country tomorrow. What the Federal Government is doing right now is like cutting the nose to spice the face.
“You don’t need to cut off your head because you have rotten teeth. You simply look for a toothbrush. You will be surprised that we will get to a point where some of these non-state actors will start to challenge us.
“I will suggest that the Nigerian Navy should be allowed to play that role to protect our critical oil assets. The Federal Government should therefore rejig or reinvent its security strategy to securing these assets.”