‘Those who have ears should hear’ — Tompolo speaks from hiding

‘Those who have ears should hear’ — Tompolo speaks from hiding

Government Ekpemupolo, the ex-militant leader better known as Tompolo, says “those who have ears should hear”.

Tompolo, who has been in hiding since the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared him wanted,  said this while denying reports linking him to the fresh threat issued by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a militant group.

NDA had destroyed many oil assets in 2016 but earlier in the year, it entered a ceasefire with the federal government, following the intervention of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), a body of stakeholders from the oil-rich region.

However, on Friday, NDA announced that it had called off the ceasefire, citing alleged insincerity on the part of the government.

Some critics had said Tompolo, who lost a case in court last week, was behind NDA’s attempt to renew hostilities.

An appellate court sitting in Lagos had dismissed an appeal filed by Tompolo, seeking to set aside the decision of the federal high court, Lagos which empowered the EFCC  to seize all the assets belonging to the ex-militant.

In his response, the former commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said the threat should not have been traced to him since he is not the only one who has scores to settle with the government.

“The attention of High Chief , the Ibe-ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation has been drawn to media statements by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), accusing him of working with the Federal Government of Nigeria, thereby maligning the Niger Delta region on one hand, and working against the Federal Government of Nigeria as brain behind the planned attack of oil facilities in the region on the other hand,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf by Paul Bebenibo, his spokesman.

“Ordinarily, we would have ignored these media statements by these so-called avengers and reformed Avengers because it is not a new tactics by these groups in bringing Tompolo’s name to whatever thing that happens in the Niger Delta region because of his legal battle with the government.

“Let it be stated at this point that Tompolo is not the only person having legal issues with the present government. Let us also state here that these accusations do not take away the fact that our dear country is at a crossroads.

“Eminent Nigerians have repeatedly said in recent time that Nigeria has never been divided like this since her independence in 1960. It is our sincerely advice to the government to urgently address the issues that are trending in the country’s political domain.

“The Restructuring/True Federalism, Participation of Niger Deltans in the oil industry, the Ogoni clean-up campaign, relocation of the headquarters of the International Oil Companies, Establishment of Modular Refineries, Resumption of academic activities in the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and so on, are very germane issues that the government needs to address now, so as to shame mischievous elements in the polity.

“We wish to reiterate our earlier stand that nothing will make Tompolo resort to destruction of oil facilities, he once protected in a contractual arrangement. Those that have ears, let them hear!”