Pipeline Security Force is a Gap-Bridging Mechanism in the Security Architecture of the Nation

The thought for establishing the pipeline security force (PSF) have been raised and aggravated to the fore severally by different people from different geo-political zones of the country especially during the first tenure of the Buhari administration. The author of this treatise is one the arrowheads who made spirited efforts for the actualization of the project through the previous NSA and Major General A.B Manman (Rtd.). It is necessary, to state and state vividly at this prefatory point that this endeavor is not one of those self-seeking windows through which contracts or consultancies are sought from the government. It is neither an alarmist propaganda to cram a new security agency to an overloaded agencies of government nor a desperate attempt to supplant, disparage or dismiss the existing security initiatives but as socially and legally responsible citizens, we must invoke an alchemy of great vision from the storehouse of knowledge, experience and professionalism to address the solution-defying challenge of pipeline vandalism. In the vast breath of human history, little effort is the best replacement for excuses while procrastination is said to be the thief of time. In anyway, we have a moral duty to champion the gap-bridging mechanism in the security architecture of the Nation.


The economy of the Nation vis-à-vis the perspective of pipeline vandalism and allied crimes and its impact on the economy, security and stability of the Niger Delta region must be brought under sharp focus and appraisal in order to grasp the weight or enormity of the problem. The Nigerian economy has been ravaged and riddled with many problems ranging from greed to corruption, ignorance and profligacy and of course improper management of her varied natural endowments by successive leadership and administration since 1966 to date. In the midst of these heart-breaking socio-economic and political problems, there was an hurricane-like eruption and sequence of criminally induced pipeline destructions, environmental pollution and spate of illegal refineries which has been the epic-centre of the complex criminal network bedeviling the petroleum sector. The consequences of the exploding criminal economy is far-reaching not only on the overall economy but on the security and stability of the Nation. As a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian project, we cannot feign ignorance to the media-hype and incessant reportage of brazen daylight robbery of our great and collective commonwealth in the mix of precariously diminishing public finance. We are saddened of how mismanaged our economy is and how regressive is the effect of pipeline vandalism on the overall economic viability of the Nation coupled with threats and the externalities of environmental pollution, health hazards and criminalities.

We have lost count of the various damaging reports and statistics trotted out by different bodies to highlight the celebrated economic disaster or better still, “economic hara-kiri” thriving in the pipeline subsector and the petroleum industry generally. The Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) stated in one of its reports that between (2009 to 2020) Nigeria lost 619.7Million barrels of crude oil valued at USD 46.16Billion, amounting to N16.25Trillion Naira. Also, between (2017 to 2021) Nigeria recorded about 7,143 cases of pipeline breakages and deliberate vandalism resulting in crude oil theft and losses of 208.639Million barrels valued at USD 12.74Million or N4.325 Trillion Naira. NNPC also stated categorically that about 5,000 Kilometers of oil pipelines in the country have not been working and this has impeded the ability of the corporation to pump through pipelines from Warri to Benin. In similar fashion, in September 2022 Nigeria lost 470,000bpd to pipeline-related assaults resulting in a monthly loss of 700 Million USD. The unglorified trend is continuing unabated.

We applaud the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for halting the conduit pipe of corruption in the name of “petrol-subsidy”. The NNPC that is expected to be the pivot of the Nations growth and development as well as the spring board for economic diversification is regrettably only a mighty ship and basket of leakages, loop-holes and endemic corruption. I have been scouting to find one NNPC report where the by-products of crude so refined abroad were accounted for but to no avail. The by-products are money spinners whose mysterious flight to the Bermuda Triangle must be explained to the congregation of opinion leaders and market square economist. In a nutshell, corruption is a reality in the current global context. The enervating fangs of corruption in Nigeria is over-reaching, alarming and unprecedentedly explosive that must be curtailed expeditiously. The bubbling ‘hunger-spring’ in the horizon must not be allowed to burst in the mix of depressed, oppressed, and poverty-stricken masses. In the midst of these lacuna, the petroleum sector accounts for 72.26% of the Nation’s total export and 40.55% of government revenue and providing employment for 19,171 personnel.


Inspite of the strategic contributions of the petroleum sector, the government is still in search of competent remedy to ameliorate the intractable challenge ravaging the sector. The problem of pipeline vandalism has been variously addressed by a combination of strategies, methods and experimentation by the military and their civilian counterparts through a legacy of trial- and-error, adhocracy and spur-of-the-moment reactive decisions which has remained an inconsequential weapon of deterrence or stoppage. Confusion reigns and the seismic tremor of a Nation in frustration rumbles and resonate endlessly at strategic and apex level of governance. The situation is seemingly a national security nightmare. These unbearable situation informed the invitation of the military through the Joint Task Force (JTF) with supporting squads from seemingly all the civil security agencies in Nigeria. In the usual characteristic nature of Nigerians, deployment to anti-pipeline vandalism related duties became a gold-mine with officers and men struggling for active participation. In our own impression, the rush and lobbying for deployment or redeployment, was either a call to duty or an avenue for new adventure or “safe-haven” for corruption and therefore astounding success was a far-cry.   Today, it is a different ball-game with the calm and highly resourceful National Security Adviser (NSA) and the No-nonsense Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in the saddle. The military is thus on red alert with clear-cut approach: clock-round surveillance, protection and clearance of all illegal refineries within the geographical expression of Nigeria without minding whose ox are gored. What a change of approach, logic and methodology?

The FGN seems not convinced enough of the renewed efforts and successes of the military including the collaborative assistance of the other civil security agencies involved in Pipeline Security, enlisted Tanitita Security Services Limited through a contractual deal. The company is a flagship within the business portfolio of Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, former agitator and warlord extraordinaire. We are not bothered about the quantum of the monetary considerations but with singleness of purpose and interest of the Nation, we are raising a red flag because of the inherent security-sensitivity. In the past, during the regime of wide spread pipeline assaults, agitation and different battle-ready militia groups, Tompolo was a neck-deep part of the problem. However, with the dawn of reasoning, clarity of vision and better appreciation of government developmental agenda, Tompolo is not only a solution but a demi-god standing firmly on the side of history. The ex-warlord removed the toxic crown and stain of devastator, journeyed into the fold of “born again” leaders and championed anti-pipeline vandalism crusade in the dark, dangerous and inaccessible creek of the Niger Delta. These self-reformatory orientations is an acquittal of the contempt of the past and recusal of the intrigue and intricacies of the moment. Tanitita, an offshoot of Tompolo’s business empire, certainly needs no “Talisman” or assistance of the gods for an extraordinary results because the geography, topography and the territoriality of the entire region, including atomic details of key actors are well knitted in the apron and interactive playground of his majesty. Other warlords still living on the tipping edge of time must see Tompolo as a role model and classic example of Saul turning Paul.

We commend the profound strides and successes with which Tanitita is executing the pipeline surveillance contract. However, we remain highly circumspect, hoping that the soaring of the eagle to the high heavens was to gather momentum for clarity of vision. In the highly uncertain, complex and economically attractive terrain, honing our skills of self-mastery, prescoping into the dark and overcrowded continent of the mind, unravelling the deep well and rhythm of the heart, unmasking the flexibility and intricacies of the human nature as well as illuminating the cloudy horizon of the future are indispensable and indeed an erudite recipes for intelligence avatars on whose compass we navigate, if not, we may be running a risky race to the perils of our own devices or accelerating the scope of ignorance or creating a vacuum for optical illusion. In other words, in shaping the destiny of our great Nation, it is safer to navigate through the regulatory framework and nexus of state institutions which are more or less immune to the vagaries of change and windstorm of change in the mix of confusion, rebellion or desperate pursuit of power.

The current overreliance on the military for pipeline security is inappropriate if not a misnomer. The military that symbolizes the aura of power, authority, order and discipline and of course the first and the last line of defence of the organic law governing the Nation, must be given a breathing space and excused from civil security assignments. This is to accord the military the necessary span of time for effective training and retraining, including preparation for inevitable constitutional mandate. “Chance favors only the prepared mind in the words of Louis Pasteur”. Moreover the military is seemingly hand-folded in the domain of pipeline security in view of its extreme caution and highest degree of restraint either in display of dexterity or use of munitions.

The underpinning position and our overall emphasis is centered on the probability of an exigency in the horizon of the future that may warrant active disengagement of the military from the theathre of pipeline security and surveillance and thereafter, the incompetent reservoir of civil security armament operating in the mix of tight and under-resourced position coupled with overstressed capacity and self-over-fragmentation into several non-responsive and seemingly corrupt squads may find it difficult, if not impossible, coming to the rescue. In the absence of Pipeline Security Force (PSF), a new floodgate of pipeline vandalism and all manners of criminalities in the pipeline subsector may be reintroduced. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. After several attempts and experimentation to eliminate the explosion of pipeline vandalism and allied crimes, there is a compelling need for paradigm shift in approach, logic and methodology which the Pipeline Security Force (PSF) connotes. Without any logical contradictions, the Pipeline Security Force (PSF) is a gap-bridging mechanism in the security architecture of the Nation.

In any organization, success or failure revolves around leadership. I have never had any contradiction whatsoever about the pride of place of charismatic leadership in management philosophy. The new Inspection General of Police (IGP), Dr. Kayode Egbetokun is a leader, raising the banner of professionalism, discipline and repositioning the force in all ramifications. However, it is important to externalize that the police pension scheme has been caught in a deep quagmire not only of red-tap-ism but also of corruption and lengthy procedural hurdles which are seemingly penal rather than being the joy and happiness associated with retirement. The heroic labour of the gallant officers and men is apparently in vain when pension cannot be paid as at when due or paid as of right by an integral organ within the police community in the current phase of digitalization. The “End-Sars” angels are not ready to engineer any tsunami for the sake of the “rank and file” of the force who are the primary burden carriers, not out of phobia but as of courage and non-interference in the tricky episode where pot is stigmatizing the kettle, only the charcoal can stand as a mediator. On this note, it is time for the police management team to address the cancerous pension scheme and make policing a truly glorious career adventure.

Having exhausted virtually all measures and experiments in contemporary security thought and practice without sparing mind-bogging budgets in order to eliminate the scourge of pipeline vandalism and allied criminalities in the petroleum sector and also to explore beyond the scope of tyranny of reasoning, we are seemingly confined to two extremist options in our drive for solution. Firstly, allowing the status-quo to continue to the perils of the economy and the Nation at large and secondly re-examining and re-evaluating old prognosis, approach and methodology with a view to identifying fundamental flaws or blind-spots on which the existing security measures were premised. The outcome is a mind bubbling with insights and loads of empirical evidence on the basis of which new measures are to be foundationed in addressing the menace of pipeline vandalism through a highly sustainable institutional framework. Infact, it is imprudent, if not criminal, to continue to invest in adhocracy on a very delicate and sensitive security of the Nation. In this context, we are recommending establishment of a compact, highly dedicated, intelligence-driven and cutting-edge-technology-led paramilitary force. This is the Pipeline Security Force (PSF),  “the knight in the shinning armor” and ultimate solution to the problem of pipeline vandalism in the socio-economic and political landscape of Nigeria.

What is as scarce as rain in the desert is the political will-power and moral compass to drive the crucial exigency to reality in the midst of resistance from the network of influence and affluence within the corridor of power and all those benefiting from the existing status-quo. However, we remain unrelenting in pursuit of this noble objective for our great Nation.

Apart from securing the complex network of pipelines in the Niger Delta region, where our great and collective commonwealth are derived, the entire region is adequate protection and security of men and materials demanding especially the quantum of economic assets in the belly of the Earth. We are not operating under the cloud of any illusion to abandon history or focus on the mundane facts behind the tales of destiny. The new scramble for Africa spear-headed by USA, Russia China and France is not for Africans but for the resources of Africa. The asset-rich Niger Delta region with its abundant economic potential and depositories of varied mineral resources is a magnetic force of attraction to both investors and criminals worldwide including Nations standing at the tipping-edge of time for the minutest opportunity to ignite the flame of chaos and anarchy as means for expanding their scope of economic exploitation and expropriation. Apart from securing the array of pipeline network in the oil and gas industry or the long length of the railway lines, there is an urgent need for comprehensive National Critical Infrastructure Surveillance and Security in Nigeria.

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