Federal Government has cancelled pipeline protection contracts awarded to Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, and Niger Delta militia group by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Already, men of the Nigerian Army and their naval counterparts have been ordered to take over pipeline protection from the ethnic militia men.
Indication to this effect came yesterday as OPC alleged that three of its men were missing after the task force men constituted by the Federal Government to take over the duty of protecting the pipelines, comprising soldiers, naval personnel and the police invaded its Sagamu, Ogun State, office.
A source told National Mirror yesterday that the pipeline protection contract by Jonathan was for a period of three months, which expired yesterday.
The source, however, said it was unlikely that the present administration would renew the contract, which was worth billions of naira.
OPC Publicity Secretary, Prince Sylvester Eweka, said in a statement that three of its operatives, Babatunde Adeyemi, Roland Ajayi and Orungbeja Dele-Osagie were missing after confrontation with the task force in Sagamu.
He said the Sagamu, Ogun State, axis of the pipeline security contract the OPC held with the Federal Government was through New Age Global Business Ltd.
The three missing men, according to him, were part of the 4,000 private security operatives employed by New Age Global Business Ltd., to provide security against criminals, who engage in pipeline vandalism and petroleum products stealing.
He said the operatives went missing after the armed military task force attempted to forcefully eject them from their area of operation at the pipeline.
He said: “At the weekend, NNPC abruptly sent an SMS message terminating the pipeline security contract with effect from June 15, 2015.
“The OPC security outfits involved in the contract are being owed three months by NNPC, and they have been unable to pay personnel on the project.
“On Sunday, a lorry-load of task force members invaded the Sagamu area, claiming it had orders to forcefully reclaim control of the pipeline area. “Irked by this unceremonious move, the private security operatives said they had no signal from their management to vacate the site.
“However, after the ensuing fracas, three men could not be accounted for by their team leaders. “Many of the private security operatives fled the scene, amidst shooting by the task force.