It was gathered that the foremost ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta Region, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo, has disowned the reported death of four persons during a boat mishap on their way to the venue of his father’s burial ceremony held in his hometown in Delta State.
Tompolo, in a statement issued on Sunday through his Media adviser, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, dismissed the reported death of the four persons as a deliberate mischief by some persons out to cast aspersions on his persons, ”We wish to state clearly that there was no such incident linked to the burial of Tompolo’s father. Tompolo father’s burial which took place during the weekend was crowned with huge success.”
“The three days burial programme for late Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo, which started on Friday and ended on Sunday morning was attended by over 10,000 persons including the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, representatives of the speaker of the House of Representatives and other top government functionaries ended in a peaceful atmosphere”.
Tompolo however stated that though If the tragic incident had occured as reported in the media, ” the Leaders of Kurutie and Ogulagha communities who were deeply involved in the burial arrangement did not even raise such issue during the ceremony,”
“Therefore the story is another attempt by enemies of the Ekpemupolo family to cast aspersion on High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) and other members of the family. The carnival like burial ceremony which was attended by the Ijaws from all over the country, the Urhobos, the Itsekiris, etc, was more of a unifying event. Sympathisers were adequately entertained with music, food and drinks, and everyone was apparently satisfied with the way the burial ceremony was planned.”
”As we use this medium to thank all and sundry who contributed in one way or the other to the success of the burial ceremony, we also wish to advice journalists to always observe the principles of objectivity and accuracy in news reporting and writing as there is no alternative to responsible journalism in Nigeria, particularly now that the federal government is preaching attitudinal change of Nigerians in the country.”
Meanwhile, a Law graduate and notable member of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) from Bayelsa State, Ken Okorodas, yesterday confirmed that four persons went missing from their boat during a trip to the venue of Tompolo’s father burial ceremony.
According to Okorodas, though his decision to speak publicly about the incident was not to cast aspersion on the ceremony, but the decison is for the benefit of those who were not accounted for after the boat mishap to be found and accorded proper recognition as survivor or dead.
Okorodas said “I and my two brothers survived the incident by the grace of God. We were 16 in the boat and when the marine police and some locals in the area rescued us. Only 12 persons were accounted for in the list compiled at the Police station. They may have been rescued by another boat but such hope should be confirmed. We boarded the boat at the NPA jetty in Warri.”