Wanted billionaire and Niger Delta ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, has disassociated himself from the new militia group in the region known as the Niger Delta Avengers, who claimed responsibility for the damaged Forcados 48-inch export pipeline.
In a statement issued and signed by his media adviser and consultant, Paul Bebenimibo, Tompolo declared that he is not part of the group.
The fugitive Tompolo said that while it is unfortunate that he is still being associated with pipeline vandalism after a series of media reports debunked his alleged involvement in renewed hostilities in the region, it is imperative to state unequivocally that he does not have ties with the Niger Delta Avengers.
According to his statement, “It is very unfortunate that Tompolo is still being accused of pipeline vandalism despite several press releases he has made denying his involvement in the renewed hostility in the Niger Delta region. Since the declaration of the presidential amnesty program by the late President Yar’Adua in 2009, which he wholeheartedly embraced and accepted, he has sworn not to be part of arm struggles either overtly or covertly.
"Most Nigerians, if not all, are aware of the role Tompolo played in safeguarding crude oil and gas facilities during the last administration, and he is still doing that for the love of country, humanity and out of patriotism. Tompolo is very happy with his achievements through non-violence advocacy since the enthronement of the 2009 presidential amnesty program for the Niger Delta region, particularly in the coastal areas.
“For instance, the establishment of the first maritime university and a dock and ship building yard and other good things which space and time will not permit us to mention. Therefore it is unreasonable and unimaginable to associate Tompolo with any person(s) or group involved in pipeline vandalism.
"It is very important to inform Mr. President and the security agencies in the country that some members of the ruling All Progressive Congress, particularly from Bayelsa and Delta States, are not happy with him because they have not gotten anything from him after almost a year since he assumed office by way of appointments and contracts. Therefore, some of them are involved in nefarious activities in the oil and gas sector so as to be engaged in pipeline surveillance.
"We are aware of how such persons are chasing the Minister of Petroleum for State, Ibe Kachukwu, around. Tompolo has said on many occasions that he will not resort to violence because of his case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as his legal team is working towards the resolving the issue. It is his prayer to God Almighty to see him through in these trying times," the statement reads.