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Militant leaders of the Niger-Delta region are currently at war over the N4.5 billion monthly pipeline surveillance contract awarded to former leader of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta, MEND, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, by the Federal Government, with Alhaji Asari Dokubo, yesterday, alleging that he (Tompolo) bluntly refused to involve him and other ex-militant leaders in a $144 million coastal protection contract ex-President Goodluck Jonathan gave to all of them during his tenure.

Dokubo, leader of Niger-Delta People’s Volunteer Force, NDPVF, has launched series of verbal attacks on Tompolo since the Federal Government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, awarded the pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo and other contractors in the Niger-Delta.

It will be recalled that Commander of defunct MEND, Victor-Ben Ebikabowei, aka Boyloaf, and other ex-militant leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta, had on Monday, lashed out at Dokubo over his recent outburst against Tompolo over the pipeline surveillance contract.

The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the South-South regional group, and Ijaw National Congress, INC, the umbrella socio-cultural body of Ijaw ethnic nationality in the Niger Delta, had also intervened in the simmering feud.

This came as Niger Delta activist and Itsekiri leader, Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor, yesterday warned the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw the pipeline contract awarded to Tompolo, describing it as invitation to anarchy.

Reacting, yesterday, Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, a rights group in Niger-Delta, yesterday, urged FG to disregard the call by Lori-Ogbebor to revoke the pipeline surveillance contract awarded Tompolo.

Defunct MEND commander, Boyloaf, who spoke for other ex-militant leaders had said on Tuesday: “I condemn the attack on Tompolo by Dokubo-Asari. This is unacceptable and unexpected of a leader of his calibre.

‘’He is qualified for the contract and Dokubo-Asari did not oppose when somebody else from Edo State, the late Capt Hosa Okunbo did a similar contract in Rivers. His company still operates in Rivers.”

Tompolo just a technical partner — Source

Vanguard could not reach Tompolo for comments on Dokubo’s allegations yesterday, but a source familiar with the matter said: “Maybe he is talking about the Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria Limited’s $103 million security contract with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

“Besides, the job was not a contract, it was a PPP arrangement which Global West provided platforms to shore up NIMASA’s revenue base above 50 per cent, and only shares from the remaining 50 per cent in the ratio of 60 per cent to Federal Government and Global West — 40 per cent.

“It is common knowledge that President Muhammadu Buhari ended this very contract shortly after he assumed office. Tompolo, as a technical partner, was affected and could not have been involved as Dokubo thought.”

Jonathan confirmed job is for us —Dokubo

However, Dokubo, who did not hide his anger over the Tompolo contract, in a Facebook video, said the Amanyanabo of Okirika, King Ateke Tom, Victor- Ben Ebikabowei, a.k.a. Boyloaf, he, and other ex-militant leaders visited former President Jonathan while he was in office, and confirmed that the contract was for all of them, adding that Tompolo stuck to his guns.

Though Dokubo admitted executing and receiving payment for a pipeline surveillance contract under Jonathan, he said this in a conversation with Tompolo after he sealed the current contract. In addition, he spoke about why he (Dokubo) will not go to Oporoza to meet Tompolo.

He said: “Many people have called me about Tompolo getting a contract. I do not have a problem with Tompolo having a contract, never, and I will never have a problem with Tompolo or any other person.

“Tompolo had been doing contracts, I never complained. Now, during the time of Goodluck (former President), he awarded through NIMASA a coastal protection contract to Tompolo, Amanyanabo Ateke Tom, myself, Boyloaf, Egberipapa, Farah and everybody went to meet with the former President and he said the contract was for all of us. And we left that place. We tried to communicate with Tompolo. He said the contract was exclusively his. We did not want to raise an eyebrow over the $144 million that they gave him per year. He did that contract for two years. He did not give anybody a dime.

“Today, they lied that the Trans-Nembe line contract was the Olu of Warri’s, who has Rivers State; it is a lie. I am talking of Kalabari, I am not talking of Rivers State. 83 kilometers of pipeline pass through Kalabari, through my native Kula, my native Ilama to Cawthorne Channel. They gave it to him.

“People said he is not a greedy man. If a man can take $144 million that the former President gave us, Goodluck is alive, let them meet him. Boyloaf was there, Ateke was there, ask them. I will not try to please anybody; he vehemently refused that the contract is his, that he will involve nobody and did not involve any of us.

“I do not need anybody’s respect, you do not have to respect me, I will say the truth. You cannot take what is Gbaramatu’s, after taking Gbaramatu, you want to take Kalabari’s own (portion). I do not want to talk about these things but when you make comments, I will talk about it, and I will clarify issues.

“So, if the Olu of Warri has taken Rivers State, he took this, he took that, what was the approach of Olu of Warri to the people from where they gave them and the approach of Tompolo? Did Tompolo reach out to anybody when he got the contract? He assembled small boys at Oporoza and people started complaining, and he said we should come to Oporoza.

Why I will not go to Oporoza

“I spoke to him on the phone; I am older than him; that I should take my two legs, enter a boat, and go to Oporoza. Amanyanabo Ateke should take his two legs, enter a boat, and come to Oporoza. All the others should come, they went because they want the money, I cannot condescend to that level because of money and go to Oporoza.

“What is the approach of the Olu of Warri to the people within the area that he operates, how has the Olu of Warri been reaching out to the people? Did he sit somewhere and be sending people or even if he sent people, did he ask all of them to come to Ode-Itsekiri or to Warri to meet him in his palace?”

Reverse contract or wait for anarchy, Lori-Ogbebor tells FG

Reacting to the contract awarded Tompolo yesterday, Chief Lori-Ogbebor lambasted the Federal Government for failing in its responsibility to manage oil resources in the Niger Delta and maintaining peace in the country.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, she said: “I have called you because of the anarchy in our land. There is anarchy in Niger Delta. Some weeks ago, I was a guest at national television and they sought my position on insecurity in the country. ‘’What they asked was connected to the train tragedy. But I told him then that the instability in the country, which is in the Northern areas of the country is little compared to what was coming in Niger Delta.

“I said there will be anarchy and it will be very serious. I told the anchor people should be worried about what is happening in the Niger Delta for two reasons. One, the Niger Delta is where the food is produced, the food basket of the nation and is also what gives us foreign exchange.

Till today, people have been crying about foreign exchange and it keeps worsening every day.

“It is not only that our food basket will stop, our food production, even the foreign exchange of Nigeria will keep going down the drains. I told them, kidnapping is one thing but killing, bloodshed and kidnapping, alongside lack of foreign exchange will be double tragedy. At the time I said it, they said I did not understand the question posed to me.

‘’But I am sure now that they understand. It is not more than four weeks and everyone is running amok, with revelations coming out. When I talked about small and big thieves, they did not understand me. When I talked about vessels being used to take our oil to the high seas and oil bunkering, they did not understand me. I warned then that it is not the small thieves that they should worry about but the big thieves and since then, they have pursued vessels out of our waters.

“Mallam Kyari, GMD of NNPC agreed that everybody is involved in the stealing, that they even found pipelines in churches and mosques. That is how bad it is. I said then that the problem we have is FG, all they do, instead of tackling this problem, is to give few people money to go and give few boys in the communities.”

She noted that the award of the humongous contract sum to one individual in the Niger Delta is a clear demonstration of government abdicating its responsibilities to the people.

Chief Lori-Egbebor cautioned that both state and federal governments must demonstrate the needed political will to implement the NDDC Master Plan and avoid enriching few individuals to the detriment of the common good of the people of Niger Delta, insisting that failure to heed the advice could spell doom for the country.

“In fact, it is unable to manage oil in Niger Delta, take control of the country. They now went back to what we cried against some years ago, dumping money in the hands of some people, abdicating their responsibility to the people to take care of Niger Delta. This was why a week ago, they handed over pipeline surveillance to Tompolo and another man who is part of them, Dokubo has come out to say no, that Tompolo is nobody, and that he dared not come to his area.

“I am not to say who is right or who is wrong but the truth is that you dare not go to another man’s land to take care of what he laboured to plant. So, Dokubo has said it, that when they were fighting the Itsekiris, they knew that the oil in Delta State belong to Itsekiris but they all converged to fight the Itsekiris, that the main oil is in Ijaw land — Bayelsa, Rivers, Kalabari and other areas.

“Now, Dokubo has said Tompolo should not come to his area, whose area will Tompolo go with money being paid to him to look after? Because it is clear now that Itsekiri people have more oil in Delta State than anybody else? What is the Federal Government going to do? Now the house is divided against itself? The Federal Government is busy creating NNPC Limited to come and carry oil in the Niger Delta, and they want to do that very quickly, and talk unequivocally as if all is well but all is not well.

“Recently, Dokubo was brandishing assorted weapons and the Federal Government kept quiet. If this is allowed to continue, anarchy will consume the nation. The Federal Government must stand up to its responsibility against any form of lawlessness and do the needful, so that peace will return to Niger Delta and Nigeria in general. To achieve a lasting peace in the region, FG must withdraw the Tompolo pipeline contract award, constitute NDDC board properly and ensure a holistic implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.”

Ignore Lori-Ogbebor’s call to revoke Tompolo contract


Tackling Lori-Ogbebor yesterday, the National president of IPDI, Austin Ozobo, said in a statement: “We have studied Chief Lori-Ogbebor’s statement and wish to state that it did not come as a surprise because she is on record to have opposed every effort to attract development and positive appointments to Warri area, Delta State and the Niger Delta region.

“The IPDI calls on the NNPC and FG to ignore Chief Lori-Ogbebor. She is neither a Niger Delta activist nor a leader in the region. Also, she does not live in the Niger Delta to feel the devastating effect of the activities of oil theft nor has any stake in the region through investments.

“All her investments are in Abuja and Lagos, from where she addressed press conferences from time to time to promote her selfish interests at the expense of the ordinary Itsekiri people that she claims to be fighting for. Let her invest in rural Itsekiri communities like Ogheye and Ebrohimi to develop the communities as Chief Tompolo did with Kurutie, if she loves her people.

“Niger Deltans from across the nine states of the region have wholeheartedly embraced the award of the surveillance contract to Tompolo and are ready to work with him. This is evident in the thousands of people that have paid solidarity and consultative visits to him at Oporoza, Delta State.

“The fact that Tompolo can deliver on this very sensitive national assignment is not in doubt and key stakeholders are all behind him to stop the environmental genocide in the Niger -Delta, increase the nation’s oil production and protect the environment.

“IPDI strongly believes that this contract would lead to the employment of thousands of youths and help in addressing youth restiveness in the region; hence well-meaning Niger Deltans support him.’’

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Zaki Biam…The attack on Zaki Biam could best be described as an ethnic cleansing considering the magnitude of the carnage that trailed the attack and the global outrage that greeted the Army operation

…Survivors lament delay, ask FG to comply

A VISIT to Zaki Biam, also known as the ‘yam headquarters’ or the ‘food basket of Benue State’, was quite revealing.

Though bustling with activities, the relics of the 2001 infamous invasion by the military that left many dead and villages in ruins, still dot the landscape.

Located in the Sankera axis of Benue State, Zaki Biam and several other communities on that path, including Gbeji, Vaase, Iorja, Tse Adoor, Kyado, Anyiin and Ugba were invaded by troops and reduced to mere rubble following reports of the murder of no fewer than 19 soldiers who were sent to maintain the peace over a lingering crisis involving communities there.

The military attack reportedly resulted in massive destruction of lives and property, which ultimately forced the victims to seek reparation through litigation spearheaded by the late leader of the Benue Development Movement, Dr. Alexander Gaadi, who dragged the Federal Government to court, demanding N200 billion for the victims.

Six years later, and specifically in 2007, what was seen as respite for the victims, came when Justice Lewis Alagoa of the Federal High Court Enugu entered a N41.8 billion judgement against the Federal Government which was eventually pruned to N8 billion in a compromise agreement.

Regrettably, 21 years after the massacre and 15 years after the judgement that was entered in favour of the victims, they are yet to reap from the celebrated verdict of the court.

While many of the survivors of the invasion are dead, many others are actively expecting when they will receive their cheques from government, which appears not to be bothered about their plight and is apparently not doing anything in that regard.

Some survivors of the massacre, who lamented their fate when Arewa Voice visited Zaki Biam, said that it was unbelievable that they were yet to be compensated more than two decades after a valid and subsisting court order.

They wondered why the Federal Government had resorted to dilly- dallying over the matter and buying time in court through unjustifiable court processes all in a bid to frustrate efforts to give effect to the verdict, thereby further worsening their condition.

Elder John Tsafa, the Orya (Village Head) of Tse-Amachigh, Ugbaam Council Ward in Sankera, lamented that his subjects are still suffering the effect of the invasion and had been traumatised by the non-payment of the approved compensation to them by the Federal Government.

Tsafa said: “The money has not been given to us and my subjects are suffering as a result. Our condition is very critical now. Although many people have rebuilt their houses, some have not been able to settle down since that time because their livelihoods were completely destroyed.

“If that compensation is given to us, it will do us a great deal of good. We will be able to pick up our lives again and live normal lives because the truth is that the invasion adversely affected even the survivors, many of who have died untimely deaths because of the pains and trauma they had to live with.”

Also, Dooga Nyiashima, the second Orya of Tse-Amachigh, whose house and belongings were also destroyed, disclosed that 21 years after, he had not been able to overcome the trauma and found his feet. “I have been doing my best but I lost much during the invasion and I have no hope again unless I get compensated to add speed to my life again,” he said.

Recounting his ordeal, Ugodo Ukpelakpela from Tse-hiive said, his two brothers whose houses were burnt during the invasion, were unable to rebuild them until they died and never got compensated.

“It is heartbreaking and we appeal to the Federal Government to pay the compensation so that the victims who are still alive can get the support they need to pick up their lives again while those who died in the course of waiting for the payment can rest peacefully,” he said.

Another resident and survivor, Torhee Taawen who looked dejected and helpless, said: “We have not been compensated and we are suffering but there’s nothing we can do about it. My father’s house was destroyed by the Army in 2001. He could not rebuild it until he died and we built his tomb in the ruins of a wing of the house because it was a big house that accommodated our large family.”

Reacting, the lawmaker representing the Logo/Ukum/Katsina-Ala Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Richard Gbande urged the Federal Government to be guided by the principles of rule of law and obey the orders of the court by paying compensation to victims of the invasion.

“The Zaki Biam invasion was a sad one and we all expect that government will immediately comply with the court ruling by paying the compensation to alleviate the suffering of the survivors/victims who are my constituents so that they can pick themselves up and push the incident behind them. The time to act is now; it is long overdue and long awaited,” Dr. Gbande said.

Speaking on the issue, the lawyer who led in the suit to secure reparation for the victims/survivors, Mr. Ocha Ulegede narrated the intrigues that trailed the quest for justice for the victims who dragged the matter to court and expressed optimism that solace would soon come the way of the people.

Mr. Ulegede explained that on July 5, 2007 he secured a judgment of N41.8 billion at the Federal High Court Enugu and by October 22, 2007 he garnished the Federal Government’s account for that judgement.

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Anambra Women living in Enugu State on Tuesday applauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the inclusiveness exhibited in the selection of the 2022 Pilgrims to the holy land, Israel.

No fewer than 274 pilgrims under Enugu state government sponsorship left the state last Thursday to the holy land.

In a statement, the group under the auspices of Anambra Women in Nigeria, Enugu State wing, stated that it was delighted with the inclusion of persons of diverse professionals irrespective of state of origin as part of the contingent.

The statement signed by its President Mrs Ujunwa Chinweze, said that Ugwuanyi has distinguished himself among his peers as one interested in promoting the Christian virtues for the good of the country.

“He has indeed shown that prayers were key to solving the challenges of the country and he has ensured that pilgrimage to holy land is sustained to enable Christians pray and strengthen their faith. It is something worth emulating by other governors for the good of our country.

“Those who benefited from the pilgrimage included indigenes and non-indigenes of the state and from diverse professions”, she said

Describing pilgrimage as a set time for Christians all over the world irrespective of state among others to come together to pray for their nation, state and family and  tap the blessings from  God, she said that it called for concentrated efforts

She added that pilgrimage offer opportunity for education and enjoined the beneficiaries to cease every moment of it to better their lives.

Mrs Chinweze said it was a great privilege for Anambra indigenes living in Enugu state to be selected to participate in the exercise and called on them to reciprocate the governor’s magnanimity by remaining law abiding.

She thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for deeming it fit to sponsor the year’s pilgrimage despite the challenges facing the state.

She enthused that with prayers, the country will overcome her challenges 

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Obi Nwakanma

Last week, dear reader, I felt too overwhelmed to write this column. It seemed pointless. Nigeria does this to you, yes. Events of such significance happen far too rapidly these days that it is no longer easy to respond to any without feeling a sense of despair.

Just like last week, there are too many things this week that dog our steps: the Tinubu choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket certainly requires urgent interrogation; the spittle had not dried from the mouth of Nigerians when again from the Tinubu camp, in utter disregard of the feelings of the Christian community, the Tinubu-Shettima campaign caused another outrage: they went all out to hire all kinds of characters – mechanics, carpenters, a few others whom they found on the streets, gathered them, offered them cash, put cassocks on them, and declared them “Christian Bishops” at the ceremony “unveiling” of  Mr. Bola Tinubu’s APC running mate, Kashim Shettima.

It was a most insensitive disrespect of Christians, already feeling utterly dissed by the APC candidate. But there was also the inauguration, this week, of the new NNPC Ltd by President Buhari. Nothing good will come out of this. It is startling that the National Assembly brazenly passed a law that steals the Nigerian commonwealth from the Nigerian people.

I watched a Channels TV interview of Mr. Akpan Bassey, Chair of the Petroleum Committee in the Senate, and Mr. Yabangi Sani, a petroleum sector player, and a current presidential candidate, dispute the benefits of this transition from a public corporation to a private limited liability company operating now under the Allied Companies Act;  and an Arise TV interviews of  Mr. Mele Kyari, the current CEO of the new NNPC Ltd.

He basically skirted Charles Aniagolu’s question on who the current shareholders of this new NNPC are. And that is the real question. I will, at some point, address this issue in this column, because it is at the crux of our national economic life and survival as a nation.

It does seem to me that this is a brazen transfer of the public property of Nigeria – the most consequential of Nigeria’s commonwealth – to a few, faceless hands. This is robbery and Nigerians must rise to stop this stealing. There is also a terrible irony to this, that this robbery is happening under the watch of Mr. Timipreye Sylva, Minister of State for Oil, and a son of the so-called “Niger Delta.”

I bat on the same side of Sani who said, on this new NNPC that “Nigeria was swindled” by this law that has privatized the NNPC. It no longer belongs to Nigerians. And even more startling is the news this week by the Minister of Finance that the Federal Government of Nigeria recorded a N3.09 trillion deficit in the first quarter performance of its 2022 Budget, and will spend N6.2 Trillion as subsidy for oil in the year.

This is clearly unsustainable. Nigeria is not just broke, but its economic foundations as a nation has collapsed. I dare not even in this column begin to analyze the implications of this news. It is imperative, even incumbent on the media, to begin to prepare Nigerians, beyond glib headlines, for what we are about to experience.

By the end of this year, the Naira will be no better than toilet paper. It would become clear when you go to buy a loaf of bread with N10, 000. Welcome to the world that Buhari and the APC have created. Public services have all but collapsed. States are in a free fall as they can no longer function as federating units even at the most basic levels.

 Insecurity is writ large. Soon, these states are going to exist merely on paper, and no one can be in charge, because there will be hardly any subventions to run them. We are actually in that moment, akin to just before the collapse of Yugoslavia, and I’m still shocked that someone is campaigning to be President of Nigeria.

Again, let me emphasize this, we are in a Yugoslavia moment. The factors are all lining up. But even as all these are important, and require great interrogation and elaboration, the massacre at Awomama, Imo State, just this past week takes the cake. Everything wrong with this country, and instigated by this APC government, converged in this dastardly event.

According to reports, 14 people, who had gone to a traditional wedding as guests, had been killed in a very gruesome way by state actors. The outcry has been loud but ineffectual. The Attorney-General of Imo State has not moved a muscle.  Yes, women, youth, and men of surrounding communities rose up and blocked streets in protest.

The chilling voice of a woman in a very viral video in terrible lament cried to the heavens: “Otulu has no more boys!” Two of her neighbors sons from the same mother were said to be among the boys killed allegedly by Ebubeagu – the armed vigilante group established by the governors of the South-East as a counter to the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the so-called military arm of the IPOB.

Imo State governor, Mr. Hope Uzodinma, tried to cover up the killings by declaring that these young men killed were members of the ESN and not wedding guests. But emerging evidence has since put a lie to that assertion. The killings were done by a joint action of the  Ebubeagu/DSS. It was a dastardly operation and those who did this killing must be arrested and tried for murder.

This killing spree has gone on for too long in Imo, and much of the South-East. It is violence conducted by government agents killing innocent citizens. It should finally bring out the beast in all of us comatose citizens of Nigeria and of the South-East particularly. This has to stop. Mr. Hope Uzodinma must be made to answer to these killings.

He has been asked by Imo youth to resign. That is not going to happen, clearly. The likes of Hope Uzodinma think themselves emperors. They think themselves higher than the people who elected them, and who can be killed, tortured, raped, and thrown into the ditch without consequence.

The point, however, is, the killings in Awomama are the result of a federal policy of attrition under the Buhari administration using his local satrap to accomplish what he could not legally, directly accomplish. The Supreme Court under Buhari committed legal and institutional thuggery by imposing Hope Uzodinma, who did not win an election, on Imo people.

Since this event, Imo State, particularly the Orlu Zone, has since become violent and militarized. The daily reports from that part of Igbo land indicate that what is going on is a proxy war. The people suffer. Young men are killed. Property invaded and destroyed. And the law remains an ass.

Peace fled Imo from the day Hope Uzodinma was imposed as governor of Imo to further the aims of the APC-led federal administration whose policy from 2015 saw the state and all of the South-East in violent and adversarial terms. Uzodinma knows how unpopular he is, and how vulnerable he is, so much that residents of Imo say he has moved to Abuja permanently.

He is hardly in Owerri. Indications are that he “governs” Imo from Abuja where he spends 90% of his time as governor. Ironically, I do not blame Hope Uzodinma alone. I mostly blame members of the Imo State House of Assembly. Since the establishment of this 4th Republic, it has remained largely a rubber stamp Assembly. I

t has neither bite nor bite. The worst of these rubber stamp parliaments is the current legislative delegation. Because they have refused to use their power of investigation and sanction, and have let successive governors of the state, particularly Hope Uzodinma, misgovern Imo with little sanction or oversight, the state is in dire straits. Just as an example, Governor Uzodinma was reported to have also disbanded the Interim Management Committee of the Local Councils.

There is no law in the Nigerian Constitution that gives him that power to either constitute or disband Interim Management Committees of Local Governments. It is a breach of the Constitution. But because the Assembly has refused to pass the election laws of the state, the local governments have no elected governments.

It should be law established by the Assembly that, at the end of the term of a local government, elections must be automatically conducted. Where that is not possible, and an election does not immediately take place, the Secretary to the Local Government and head of its Civil Administration ought to administer the local government on an interim basis, no more than six months before an election must be conducted to the local government.

This should ensure independence of the local administration, and accountability. The state House of Assembly has fiduciary powers over the state. Not the Governor. Governors like Uzodinma however act with little oversight. They use the security votes, illegal by all definitions, to destroy rather than protect the lives of citizens.

In this particular incident at Awomama, given the recumbence of the Imo State House of Assembly, indigenes have no hope of investigating Uzodinma to get any answers to his complicity in the killings at Awomama. I do not blame the Assembly altogether alone. I blame Imo citizens too who have failed to rise, organize, and use the only power they have in the Constitution – the power to recall their reps in the Assembly, or stir them to act with sustained picketing.


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