Oil Theft: Bayelsa Speaker, Hilary Ibegbulem, Others In Attendance As NUJ, DOPF Honour Tompolo With Security Awards


The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has bestowed on former Niger Delta freedom fighter, High Chief Oweizide Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, with the ‘Internal Security Meritorious Award’.

This is even as the Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) also inducted Tompolo, who is the owner of Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL) into her “Niger Delta Hall of Fame” for his fight against crude oil theft.

NUJ, the umbrella body for all registered practising journalists in Nigeria, conferred the prestigious award on Tompolo in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the security of oil and gas infrastructure by curtailing oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.

The NUJ National President, Chief (Dr) Chris Isiguzo performed the presentation of the award on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at Oporoza, headquarters of the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Dignitaries that graced the ceremony were the 6th Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abraham Ingobere and Dr Hilary Ibegbulem, who served as Principal Private Secretary to the immediate past governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the traditional Prime Minister of Ijaw Gbaramatu Kingdom Hon. Chief MacDonald Igbadiwei as well as the Executive and Board of Trustees of Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF), who also inducted Tompolo into the Niger Delta Hall of Fame.

In his remarks before making the presentation, Dr Isiguzo flanked by the NUJ National, Zonal and State leaderships said the award is an honour to a deserving national patriot and Chairman of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL), High Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo noting that the pen-pushers arrived at conferring the meritorious award on Tompolo at the last NUJ NEC meeting and National Security Conference in Abuja after a meticulous deliberation on his activities and successes in tackling economic sabotage head-on.

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He said Tompolo had set the pace in securing Nigeria from the throes of economic insecurity in the Niger Delta region, urging the media, other security operatives and agencies as well as other Nigerians to rally around him.

“The NUJ, having properly profiled the activities of Chief Government Ekpemupolo, Alias Tompolo, the Union is impressed with his patriotic zeal to ensure that Nigeria works again.

“Somebody had risen to the occasion and gathered an array of young men who have taken it upon themselves to help this country continue to survive as a peaceful nation, united and continue to fend for its people.

“And that is the man that has, to a very large extent, substantially, helped us address the issue of crude oil theft.

“That is one thing that has occupied our national life over time. But by his commitment, dedication and diligence, Nigeria, as a country, had, to a very large extent, reduced the activities of men of the underworld who have consistently engaged in pilfering, taking our common patrimony for their gains.

“NUJ, having assessed the activities of TSSNL, we decided that we must accord the necessary recognition to the man who carries the flag, birthed this organization, who has exceptionally distinguished himself, and who has been celebrated by Nigerians across all walks of life.

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“NUJ is an institution that is distinguished; when we look at the different realms of governance, we have the First Estate of the Realm, the Second Estate of the Realm, and the Third Estate of the Realm; all talking about the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.

“But there is a realm that Nigerians now look up to and if this realm collapses, Nigeria will collapse. This realm is the oxygen of democratic governance; it is the reason Nigeria is still operating and why we are enjoying peace and harmony and that is the media.

“Therefore, this important realm has come to the Oporoza Community in Gbaramatu Kingdom to honour a distinguished son of the Niger Delta; a general in his own right who has distinguished himself, ensures and maintains an appreciable level of internal security.

“We have come to confer on him, the Internal Security Meritorious Award of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

“In the course of the national security conference, only one award had been approved and it is being conferred on Dr Government Ekpemupolo,” Chief Isiguzo enthused.

Isiguzo continued: “I’m also excited that I’m doing this after 61 years of the existence of the NUJ, this award is coming up at this time.

“It is not just an honour to Tompolo but also an honour to me too. It is an honour to all of us and what that means is that the issue of insecurity is not just the responsibility of government but of every Nigerian.

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“Wherever you are, your contribution to ensuring their tranquillity, peace and harmony, is without blemish and doubt.

“When you provide information, and intelligence to security operatives and agencies, you have contributed in a certain percentage to reducing the problem of insecurity in the land.

“So, it is a collective responsibility, and all hands must be on deck to ensure we address our problems.

“If Nigeria is peaceful, every part of the country, including your household, will be peaceful and that will give birth to development and progress.

“It will take our country from a third-world country to perhaps, a second-world country or who knows, maybe a first-world country. It is possible and it can happen in our time.”

Expressing gratitude for the honour, Tompolo reiterated his commitment to Nigeria’s advancement and protection, emphasizing the need for unity and collective effort in safeguarding government properties and facilities to protect the nation’s economy from sabotage.

He said, “I don’t have any other place, except Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country I have, so we must all join hands to protect and move Nigeria forward.

“Our economy is in dire need of survival so we cannot fold our hands and allow some persons to sabotage the nation’s economy because of greed.”

The colourful award ceremony witnessed the display of the rich hospitality of the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom and dance entertainment by Ijaw women.


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