The newest militant group in the Niger Delta region, Niger Delta Avengers, has issued a 72-hour ultimatum to Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka "Tompolo" to withdraw his comments on the bombed 48-inch pipeline in Forcados or face severe punitive actions. Tompolo, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC), Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), had said in a statement signed by his media adviser and consultant, Paul Bebenimibo, that he has no link with the Niger Delta Avengers, which has claimed responsibility for the bombing of the pipeline.
Tompolo, who is currently in hiding after being declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also endorsed the continuation of repair works on the damaged pipeline, an action the Niger Delta Avengers consider as undermining the Niger Delta struggle.
The ultimatum by the militant group was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday. Curiously, it not signed by Mudoch Agbinibo, who normally speaks for the group.
The statement lauded Tompolo for his activities but frowned at his rejection of being linked to the Niger Delta Avengers. “We, the Niger Delta Avengers, respect and admire your love for the region and all you have done.
“We have only decided to pick the struggle up from where you and the former Niger Delta agitators left off; it is only the actors that are new.
" You are not one of us, and you need not bother yourself to try to convince anyone,” the statement said.
Should Tompolo fail to apologise for his comments within 72 hours, the statement warned, the Niger Delta Avengers will blow up all oil installations in Tompolo’s hometown of Gbaramatu, Delta State.
“Since you have taken sides with the federal government to fight the Niger Delta people, we shall bring the war to your doorstep by blowing up all oil installations within your backyard (Gbaramatu Kingdom).
“It’s a slap on our face for you (Tompolo) to give a nod for repair works to continue on the 48-inch pipeline at Forcados despite a stern warning from us that no one goes near the blast site," the group said.