A former militant kingpin,Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has cried out that he and Gbaramatu Kingdom in the Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State are under siege over the activities of a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers.
The embattled ex-militant leader, who has been declared wanted, pointedly accused fellow Niger Delta leader, Chief Ayiri Emami, of giving the Federal Government and the Nigerian military wrong information about him (Tompolo) in exchange for possible pipeline repair contracts.
Tompolo added, “I wish to humbly express my disappointment and displeasure with the Federal Government and the Nigerian military on the continuous siege to me and Gbaramatu communities under the guise of looking for members of the nascent Niger Delta Avengers.
“It baffles me that the Nigerian military has refused to believe me that I am not part of the group (the NDA) and its activities as contained in several media statements. I am obviously a victim of circumstance in this matter because of my case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“How can I resort to destruction of oil facilities because of those trump-up charges against me by the EFCC when my lawyers are already challenging the faulty process of legal service on me? If not for the common insinuation that the Nigerian judiciary is on trial, why would my case with the EFCC become the greatest issue in Nigeria today, when there are so many important things to talk about?
“I am greatly touched and disappointed with the manner the Nigerian government and the military are being arm-twisted by the unfounded claims of Ayiri Emami and others that I am behind the Niger Delta Avengers group when there is no single proof to back the claim?
“I wish to honestly advise the Federal Government to tread cautiously and carefully on this matter as there is more to what Ayiri Emami and his likes are doing in the matter than meet the eyes.
“Therefore, they need to launch a thorough investigation into the issue, rather than harassing and intimidating the innocent Gbaramatu communities and the people as this mode of operations by the military will not guarantee the desired peaceful atmosphere for continuous oil exploration activities by the Federal Government.
“May I once again point it out that Ayiri Emami and others accusing me of the destruction of oil facilities in parts of Delta State are simply looking for relevance, recognition and pipeline surveillance contract.
“If anyone doubts what I am saying, such should find out from the GMD and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, because Ayiri and his likes have been troubling the minister for pipeline surveillance contracts for some time now.
“The minister has even succumbed to Ayiri Emami’s gimmick by appointing some of his cronies as special advisers. The funny thing about Ayiri Emami is that he does not even have the capacity and goodwill to protect oil facilities.”
Tompolo added that he was not in competition with Emami for pipeline surveillance contract, saying the Warri businessman should be cautioned.
“It is a pity that President Muhammadu Buhari and the military do not know the kind of informants that are working with them. I want the whole world to know that I am not in competition with Ayiri Emami on pipeline surveillance contract.
“I wish to call on his acquaintances to caution him as there is no blessing in the path he is treading,” Tompolo added.
The ex-militant leader has consistently denied being the brains behind the NDA, which has claimed responsibility for the blowing up of a number of oil installations in the Niger Delta.
Troops were also alleged to have last week invaded several Gbaramtu communities in search of members of the militant group.