The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has described as a national security threat, the Federal Government's decision to award the contract to guard the country's crude oil pipelines in the Niger Delta to ex-militants.
The party said it was deeply concerned over the recent revelation of the payment of about N5.6 billion to some Niger Delta ex-militants annually for guarding oil pipeline facilities.
A statement issued Tuesday by the its National publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, said for such a vital national asset to be put into the hands of ex-militants who have no proven background of oil-facility security, posed a serious threat to national security.
"We believe that this is a threat to our national security because the truth of the matter is that the apparatus of national security has been put into the hands of ex-militants with no proven background in oil-facility security. The Nigerian Navy, the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), are the legitimate government security bodies to whom such monies should be apportioned to," he said.
An American influential newspaper, the Wall Street Journal which broke the news last week, alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has a schedule of regular payments to Government Ekpumopolo, alias 'Tompolo' (N3.6billion), Mujahhid Asari Dokubo (N1.44billion), Ebikabowei Victor Ben, alias 'Boyloaf' (N560million), and Ateke Tom (N560 million) every year.
The journal was also quoted as revealing that the 'ex-warlords' were being paid to guard the NNPC'S pipelines which are vital to the evacuation of crude oil for export and the transportation of fuel products across the country.
Eneukwu said, because of the seeming crass absurdity of the story, ANPP had elected to ignore it until "the Federal Government, last weekend, confirmed the mind-boggling national disgrace".
He said the fact that this disclosure was first publicised by a foreign news medium is a ridicule to the image of our great nation in the comity of nations.
"For some time now, Nigeria has been engaged in various vigorous strategies in international public relations and marketing in a bid to gain the world's confidence in our fight against corruption so as to lure them in to invest in the country.
"But this damning admission of an award of a shady and illegitimate contract without the knowledge of the relevant National Assembly committees overseeing the activities of the NNPC by the Federal Government has blatantly shown the hypocrisy and ineptitude of this present government to the whole world.
The ANPP spokesman lamented that the situation has left the Nigerian Police in a less than desirable state of welfare while security funds were channelled to former militants.
He said given the severe security challenges currently confronting the country, other destructive elements might misread the government's gesture to mean that strong arm tactics and national sabotage are now legitimate means of achieving greatness.
"The ANPP therefore calls on the National Assembly to rise up to its duty, and check this unreasonable and conspiracy theories-invoking action of the NNPC and the Federal Government.
"We believe in a united, peaceful, stable and prosperous Nigeria, and we maintain that body language and perception are as powerful as potent weapons of mass destruction, therefore those that represent the people of Nigeria must not lose sight of the big picture - that of the integrity of the nation as an entity," he said.