Tompolo’s kinsmen alleged that the invasion plan involves the use of a military houseboat stationed at Oporoza Waterfront and warned that the plan could rip up the fragile peace in the community.
The people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri Southwest Local Government Area of Delta State cried out that the Nigerian military is planning to attack the town under the pretext of looking for militants. Gbaramatu is the hometown of Chief Government Ekpemuopolo, the militant better known as Tompolo, who is currently on the Federal Government’s wanted list.
In a statement issued after a press conference on Thursday, Tompolo’s kinsmen alleged that the invasion plan involves the use of a military houseboat stationed at Oporoza Waterfront and warned that the plan could rip up the fragile peace in the community. Signed by Chief Gbenekama God'spower, the Ibe-Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, the statement said military houseboats have never deterred militants seeking to attack pipelines.
“This planned action of the Nigerian military is capable of derailing the fragile peace that some of us have struggled to achieve in the past few months. Let it be known that the presence of military houseboats has never stopped these militants from attacking critical oil facilities, including pipelines very close to the said military houseboats,” said the statement.
Earlier in the year, recalled the statement, troops stationed at Ikpokpo and charged with guarding the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) node in the town could not stop militants from blowing up the node located less than 70 metres from their base.
Instead of performing their legal duties, the statement alleged, the soldiers went to Tebujoh/Okpellama and shot a sand scooper to death, almost provoking a major crisis.
“If not for the intervention of the Gbaramatu Traditional Council, that would have resulted in a major crisis. As it is now, there are so many military houseboats stationed across the Niger Delta and they have not stopped the militants from attacking.
The statement condemned the militarization of Gbaramatu Kingdom, which is marked by a military station in Ikpokpo, a formation in the place formerly known as Camp 5, military houseboats at Ibafan, Kengha Gbene (Abiteye ), TekeyeGbene (Kokodiagbene, Otunana), Jones Creek, Sengbene and Seiturobubor.
“If all these military formations around the kingdom cannot stop the bombing, why another in Oporoza Waterfront? Or is somebody somewhere using this as a money spinning venture?” the statement asked.