Pipeline Surveillance: Ijaw Youths Battle Captain Hosa Okunbor Over ‘Skewed’ Job Slot

Idahosa Okunbo

…Disregard Protest Against OMS, Ijaw OMS Host Communities Tell Buhari, NNPC, say Protesters are being sponsored

A coalition of Ijaw youth groups have intensified their battle against Pipeline Surveillance Contractor, Captain Hosa Okunbor and the Management Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS), over alleged skewed job slots in the pipeline surveillance work being done along Pipeline Right of Way (PRoW) in Warri/Escravos and Forcados rivers.

BIGPEN gathered that over 30 youth groups in the Ijaw speaking area of the Niger Delta had signed a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged “nefarious activities of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited in the Warri Escravos and Forcados (Burutu).

Ocean Marine Solutions Limited, OMS, a leading asset company dedicated to protecting the country’s resources from graft and illegal activities, handles the surveillance of Trans Forcados Pipeline, TFP.

The TFP is a vital piece of Nigeria’s national infrastructure capable of transporting 200,000 to 240,000 barrels of oil per day equivalent to 14 per cent of Nigeria’s daily production. 

It is the key to transporting crude oil from some of Nigeria’s  largest and most prolific assets and therefore, of fundamental national strategic importance.

OMS is also in charged of the surveillance of the Escravos-Warri crude pipeline. Escravos terminal is the heart beat of the downstream sector and critical to local supply of finished petroleum products in the country.
Finding indicated that both Warri and Kaduna refineries were being fed from Escravos crude stock.

According to the groups in a petition addressed to anti-graft agency, OMS gives the pipeline surveillance jobs meant for the locals to outsiders and sideline them who truly bear the brunt of oil exploration activities in the creeks.

The groups in a statement signed by Hon. Bullet Otuaro; Youth President Warri South West LGA, Comrade Mandela  Bomini; Youth President Burutu LGA and Odimodi Community, Akin Edisemi Disi; Youth President Gbaramatu Kingdom, Shadrach Onitsha Ebikeme; Youth President Iduwini Kingdom, Nelson Andrew; Youth President Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom, Ogbona Bibo; Youth President, Diebiri Kingdom, Godwin Yokiri; Youth President, Benikrukru, Comrade Imoun M. Emomotimi; Youth President Okerenkoko Federated Community, Ebikebina Raymond Ekpemupolo on behalf of others, said that they would longer tolerate the “illicit activities of OMS against the youths and our environment”.

“We are also informing the Government of Delta State, the  Minister for Petroleum and the  Minister for Environment that the peaceful youths of Warri Escravos and Forcados have kept to their promise of maintaining peace in the creeks  despite the fact that Captain Hosa Okunbor and his Management in OMS have been sidelining the youths in the PRoW job slots since 2017 the contract was awarded to OMS, but we are ready to use all means to get our job slots in no distance time.”

The Ijaw youth groups alleged that the call for the investigation of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited deals in the Niger Delta became imperative because OMS, had overtime deliberately ignored call by the leadership of the Central Youth Body, Kingdoms and Sub communities in Warri Escravos and Forcados for a dialogue and peaceful resolutions of their demands.

BIGPEN’s efforts to reach the management of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited or Captain Okubor for comment on this report proved abortive as of press time. Reports say OMS led by Capt  Idahosa Okunbo as chairman and majority shareholder, have over 3000 work force in Delta communities.

But in defence of OMS, another coalition of Ijaw OMS Host Communities Youth have condemned in a strong terms what it called consistent threats in the media to disrupt the surveillance operations of Ocean Marine Solutions (OMS) Nigeria Limited in Egbema Kingdom, Warri North LGA.

The coalition of youth in a statement on Friday, stated that a body that goes by the name “Egbema Youth Network” in the Escravos and Forcados axis in Warri South West and Burutu LGAs of Delta State operating under the auspices of “Central Youth Bodies”, have been in the forefront of “attacks” against operations of Ocean Marine Solution.

“As youths of Ijaw host communities to the surveillance operations of OMS Solutions owned by Capt. Okunbor Hosea, we wish to clearly dissociate the youths of the host communities and our communities from the cheap blackmail and unfounded allegations by the so call Egbema Youth Network and the Escravos and Forcados Central Communities Youth bodies”, a statement signed by.Prince Igbiriki, National Coordinator and Comrade Kenneth Nadifa, Secretary of the groups said. 

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that the Egbema Youth Network and the Central Youth Bodies of Escravos and Forcados do not have the authority to speak for the host communities.

“The Ijaw host communities to OMS surveillance operations in the transforcados trunkline, the Escravos trunkline and in the Egbema axis of Warri North are working in harmony with OMS.

“It is on record that since OMS took over, the rate of destruction to the aforementioned facilities has drastically reduced through the cooperation of the host communities and the management of OMS.

“It is also on record that all the key staff of OMS both at the management and field level are from Ijaw, Urhobo, Isoko and Itsekiri communities hosting the facilities. Therefore the call for the contract to be given to an indigene of the host communities is baseless. We the host communities to OMS are very comfortable with the management of OMS.

“The youths protesting against OMS are being sponsored by those who are not comfortable with OMS war against illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalization in Delta State.

“However, we are fully in support of OMS and the war against illegal bunkering and destruction of our communities must be stopped for the benefit of future generations.

“Consequently, we call on President Buhari, Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Slyva and the NNPC/NPDC to completely disregard the protest by the so call Egbema Youth Network and the Escravos and Forcados Central Youth Bodies. We the youths of the OMS host communities are comfortable and ready to continue our partnership with OMS Solutions to safeguard the nation’s critical economic assets”.