Foremost Ijaw youth organization, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide have urged the Federal Government to ignore calls from some quarters not to award pipeline surveillance contracts to ex-militants.
The group made the call following criticism trailing the purported plans to award the contracts to community based contractors as well as ex-militants instead of allowing conventional security outfit to protect the facility.
In a statement over the weekend, IYC spokesman, Barrister Eric Omare said that it was misplaced and discriminatory for people to criticize the plan by the federal government to re-award the pipeline contract to ex-agitators.
According to IYC, the country had in recent times recorded an unprecedented destruction of oil pipeline facilities and loss of oil revenue as a result of sabotage under the supervision of the Navy, Army and Police.
The group said that community policing is one of the most effective means of fighting crimes all over the world as no crime can be committed without the tacit or overt support of the people of a particular community.
Therefore, considering the fact that the conventional security outfits have failed in the protection of oil facilities, the federal government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan made the best decision by awarding the contract for the protection of oil facilities to communities where these facilities are situated, the statement said.
IYC insisted that awarding surveillance contract to community based contractors is the best means to protect oil facilities.
The group also said that the essence of the contract would be defeated if the contract is handed to communities other than communities were the facilities are situated.
“There is no body that can protect oil facilities more than the indigenes of the communities, IYC insist.
“We condemn the attack against the federal government because of the involvement of ex-Niger Delta agitators in the surveillance contract.
IYC described the reported comments as discriminatory against ex-agitators and in violation of the Nigerian constitution.
“Ex-Niger Delta Agitators are Nigerians; hence they have the right to be awarded any sort of contract as far as it is not in violation of any law. It is a potent means of reintegrating the ex-agitators into the society”.
IYC also berated some ex-militants who are clamouring to have the contracts awarded to them alone saying that their agitations negate the essence of the community based pipeline surveillance contracts.
While calling on the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to go on with the award of the surveillance contract, IYC urge the authorities that the re-award of the contract should be community based and not for a particular class of people alone.