The leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a. Tompolo, has washed his hands off the reported new threats to blow up oil installations in the Niger Delta.
In an e-mailed statement to THISDAY in Asaba Delta State, yesterday, Tompolo, who is currently locked in legal tussle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court in Lagos over his failure to comply with subsequent summons and repeated warrant of arrest by the court, dissociated himself from the alleged renewed threats to blow oil facilities in the region.
Trending stories especially on the social media warned of dire reprisal consequences, including attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta creeks should President Muhammadu Buhari fail to withdraw military personnel from Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State within the next few days.
Ekpemupolo is of the Ijaw Gbaramatu ethnic stock, and Gbaramatu has witnessed unprecedented military presence since the end of hostilities between government troops and militants in the region with the Amnesty Programme of the Yar’Adua administration in 2009.
Nonetheless, in the electronic statement signed by Tompolo’s media aide and consultant, Paul Bebenimibo, labelled the authors of the trending threats on the social media as sworn enemies of the Ijaw chief who were cashing in on Tompolo’s current travails to nail his coffin.
Bebenimibo, however, advised the perpetrators of the evil campaign to perish the thought of ultimately destroying Tompolo via this avenue as God would provide a protective shield around him and give him victory over his present adversities because the ex-MEND leader nursed no evil against Nigeria and Nigerians.
He stressed that Tompolo was irrevocably committed to his resolve not to resort to any forms of violence in the light of the current difference with the EFCC.
The Tompolo media aide’s statement read in part: “It has come to our notice that some mischief makers have made a publication in the name of Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, which is trending on the social media, that he has given few days to President Buhari to withdraw military personnel from the Niger Delta region, otherwise he is going to blow up oil pipelines.
“We wish to state categorically that the said publication is not from Tompolo, rather, it is the work of those who have sworn to kill him by all means; but Jehovah God forbids and will never allow them.
“Tompolo has stated before now that he will not resort to violence or destroy oil facilities because of the issue he is having with the EFCC. No amount of provocation and persecution can make him destroy the country that he has helped to build in recent time. He will discretionally continue to pursue his cause legally.
“It is his prayer for those pushing for his death to have a re-think as he believes fervently in Jehovah God Who sees the heart of every human being that he has no evil intention against Nigeria or any individual; therefore, he will come out stronger in the face of these temptations and trials.”
Following Tompolo’s alleged refusal to obey summons by a Lagos high court over numerous count corruption charges filed before it against him, a bench warrant was issued and renewed by the court for Ekpemupolo’s arrest.
Subsequent order of the court to security agencies to fish out and arrest Tompolo has apparently yielded not result as the ex-Niger Delta militant leader has gone underground with claims in some quarters that he might have fled the country.