Founder of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, has described the violent attacks and bombing of oil pipelines and installations by the Niger Delta Avengers as inimical to the nation’s economy.
The ex-creek warlord said the actions of the militants were already implicating him and endangering his people, regardless of the many denials he has made to dissociate himself from the group.
In a statement issued yesterday, Tompolo urged the militant group to embrace negotiation opportunities provided by the Federal Government just as he decried the military invasion of his community, Oporoza in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State.
Tompolo, who accused oil pipeline contractors as possible masterminds of the attacks, said: “You members of the Niger Delta Avengers group are aware that some mischievous persons have continued to point accusing fingers at me that I am either behind you or directly carrying out the destruction of oil pipelines across the Niger Delta, therefore I should be arrested by the Nigerian military. Sadly, the military had bought this ethnic-induced and wicked accusation without a single proof to show that I am truly behind you people.
”I still maintain that I know nothing about your group and the destruction of crude oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
I have made it clear on many occasions that the issue I am having with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not make me resort to violence and bombing of oil pipelines as my team of lawyers have already challenged the defective process of legal service on me in the Court of Appeal.”
Urging the militants to embrace the path of dialogue and stop the destruction of oil facilities, Tompolo said:
“For the love of country and out of patriotism, I wish to appeal to you once again to stop the bombing of oil facilities in the Niger Delta and embrace the path of dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria, as the government is ready to hear you out on whatever issues you wish to discuss with it.
“Come to think of the consequences of your actions in the region so far, particularly as it affects me and the people of Gbaramatu kingdom. Just on Saturday, the Nigerian Army invaded the ancestral headquarters of the kingdom, Oporoza town, under the guise of looking for members of your group, particularly me, who they have wickedly linked to your group and unleashed mayhem on the innocent people of the community.
“The Army has massively looted resident homes, desecrated traditional places of worship, committed sacrilege, abominations and what have you. The army has continued to occupy the community till this moment,” the statement said.