The embattled ex-Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo (popularly known as Tompolo), on Saturday endorsed the planned dialogue initiated by the Federal Government to stop a recent spate of oil and gas pipeline attacks. In a statement issued today, Tompolo urged the new militant groups behind the attacks to accept a ceasefire and embrace dialogue in order to resolve the brewing crisis in the Niger Delta region.
Tompolo described the Federal Government’s openness to dialogue as the best option to resolve the rising tension and said it was high time the militant groups stopped the bombing and destruction of crude oil facilities in the region.
In the statement signed by him and issued via email, Mr. Ekpemupolo contended that, irrespective of reasons listed by the new militant groups, most prominently one named Niger Delta Avengers, for their attacks on oil facilities, they had only succeeded in provoking the Federal Government to militarize the region.
Addressing the Niger Delta Avengers, Tompolo wrote, “I do not know you and how to reach you except through the mass media. Therefore it is high time you stopped the bombing and destruction of crude oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.”
He continued: “One thing you guys may not be aware of is that, you have not only succeeded in militarizing the Niger Delta region now, but also succeeded in giving birth to so many negotiators and political jobbers within the government circle, who are very serious rumor peddlers in the country now.
“As for the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, they have not known peace since you guys started the bombing of oil facilities as they have been harassed, intimidated, violated and invaded on daily bases by the Nigerian military under the guise of looking for members of your group (Niger Delta Avengers) and my humble self, who they have criminally and wickedly linked to the Niger Delta Avengers.”
He added: “Presently all communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom have been deserted by residents for fear of a repeat of the 2009 military invasion, which still leave the communities in [a] shambles. Even till now, the military has not returned the symbol of authority they took away from the Egbesu Shrine and other valuables in Oporoza community during the May 28, 2016 invasion. It is pertinent to state that I have not heard and seen in any part of Nigeria, even the most volatile North Eastern part of Nigeria, where Boko Haram has been killing innocent people, the way and manner the military desecrated the traditional worship centers in Gbaramatu Kingdom.”
Tompolo stated that his traducers were alleging that some of his closest men were coordinators of the Niger Delta Avengers. He noted that reports linking him to the bombings were currently trending on social media, “specifically in naija.com platform, that Benji Ekeremor, Super and Owomor aka VIP are the coordinators of the Avengers. The truth of the matter is that I can no longer endure these blackmails from my traducers, as I have seen that they are not resting in their oars, as they have vowed to implicate me by all means necessary. God forbid!”
He described his associates as “responsible men who had had skilled training under the Presidential Amnesty program that are currently using their acquired skills to eke out a living. And so the allegation that they are the coordinators of various axes of the Avengers is a malicious and mischievous one.”
Tompolo urged the new militants to “stop the bombing and destruction of oil facilities in the Niger Delta region now and embrace the dialogue option from the Federal Government as it is (dialogue) the only pragmatic means in resolving a crisis no matter huge and complicated such crisis is. And I believe fervently that the Government is serious and willing to end this re-occurring crisis in the Niger Delta region. Enough is enough.”