There was heavy security presence at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Abuja on Friday.
Armed security men from the Nigeria Police Force and the Army were sighted at the entrance of the oil firm, while police pickup vans and armoured personnel carriers were conspicuously stationed on both sides of the roads that lead to the NNPC.
It was learned that the deployment was a sequel to a request by the security department of the corporation.
A source at the security department told one of our correspondents that the move had become necessary due to the tension generated by the memo written by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari, which was leaked.
The minister had in the memo accused the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, of insubordination.
The memo has generated reactions from Civil Society Organisations, opposition parties and even the National Assembly, which had commenced an investigation into the allegations of the awarding of contracts to the tune of $24bn without due process.
A source at the NNPC said, “There have been soldiers at the NNPC since the Boko Haram threats of 2013."
“However, we received fresh reports that people may be coming to demonstrate at the NNPC, so we had to beef the security up around the NNPC."
“Also, the feud between both sides has caused some division at the NNPC. For now, visitors won’t be allowed to drive in, except they have a special appointment, or they are contractors and there are special identity cards given to contractors.”
The source revealed that soldiers were running eight-hour shifts at the NNPC and had also been placed on alert.
He added, “There are eight soldiers on duty every eight hours and then there are snipers at the six watchtowers."