The Warri Study Group (WSG) is calling on President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan to revoke the Federal Government contract which was said to have been awarded to Global West Vessel Service to secure Nigerian coastline.
This was in reaction to recent news that Global West Vessel Service, a private company believed to be controlled by the militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has just acquired seven made for Norway battle ready warships among other weapons.
In a statement signed by Edward Ekpoko, Chairman, and Tony Ede, Secretary described the development as a threat to national security, adding that Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gun powder.
The statement said, "Tompolo was a known militant granted amnesty by the Yar' Adua administration and controls the private company engaged by NIMASA to oversee the security of the Nigerian coastline during Jonathan's administration.
"President Jonathan, Tompolo and the DG of NIMASA are all of Ijaw extraction. We see a script being acted out. Nigeria is the only country where an individual is awarded contract to oversee the security of the coastline of a nation with powers to import warships and sophisticated arms.
"The question that begs for answer is this: What is the role of the Nigerian Navy in the security of the Nigerian coastline? Is the Ministry of Defence aware of all these arms deals?"
"Are these warships and arm deals to fight piracy and other criminal activities on our coastline or to intimidate other ethnic nationalities or cause destabilization as in the North East?", the WSG further queried.
It called on Jonathan to intervene by withdrawing the contract awarded by NIMASA, warning, "In the unfortunate event of weapons being turned against other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta, those involved will be held responsible for crime against humanity by the international community even if Nigerian government fails to act".
In May 2009, the commander of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, declared Government Ekpemupolo "the most wanted man in Nigeria." In the Delta region, he made his own law with his own army.
In 2009, he surrendered to the Nigerian government and shook hands with then president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, receiving full amnesty for himself and his around 1.500 men.
Today he is an important business partner with the very government that, only five years ago, considered him a criminal.
But he is reportedly still responsible for violence. As late as in November this year he was widely reported as masterminding the abduction and beating of 14 journalists in the Niger delta.
Norway defends weapons sale
The head of communications at the Norwegian State Department Frode O. Andersen defended the arms sale. He told the "Dagbladet" on Friday: "As far as we can see, the export of KNM Horten has followed correct procedure and terms of export to Great Britain. The re-export from Great Britain to Nigeria is a question to be handled solely by British export control authorities."
Lloyds List records show that the ship, which was sold to the U.K. company in 2012, was recorded as working for a fishery.
Listed as purchased 9/2013 from Norwegian Government by UK company CAS Global Ltd and, as you note, recently delivered to Ramsgate under UK flag.
CAS Global is majority-owned by Stuart Macgregor, and with a strong Nigerian connections through CAS Nautico. Could be for fishery or anti-piracy operations in West Africa.