A former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), Government Ekpumupolo, alias Tompolo, made a volte face yesterday, saying he would appear before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, which issued a bench warrant for his arrest, January 14, but “at the appropriate time.”
The bench warrant followed an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which had filed different charges against Tompolo, including diversion of N34 billion belonging to the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to personal use and laundering of N22.6 billion.
Tompolo, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Paul Bebenimibo also said he would never commence war against the Federal Government having accepted amnesty in 2009, reiterating that he was not party to the recent three-day bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines in Delta State.
“Tompolo has no reason to bomb pipelines because of EFCC case, he knows he is innocent. As he has stated in several occasions, he will appear in court at the appropriate time as his lawyers are working towards that,” he said.
Before now, Tompolo had said, “The truth of the matter is that I do not know anything about the N34 billion naira EFCC is talking about, first, it was 13 billion issue, now it is 34 billion. I am not a signatory to any of the companies mentioned in the said 34 billion case. So I do not know where this one is coming from.”
Reacting to the allegation by another ex-militant leader, Africanus Ukparasia, alias “General Africa” that he bombed pipelines, Tompolo said he alerted the public that some aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Bayesla and Delta states want to destroy national assets in the Niger Delta AREA and finger him because of the outcome of the Bayelsa governorship election.
According to the statement, “And true to his fears, these set of APC chieftains that joined the party immediately after the presidential election of 2015 were the first people to accuse him of bombing the pipelines to divert public attention.”
On speed boats for war Tompolo said “it is the biggest lie of the year, as the military is also aware of the boats and pick-up vans he purchased in 2011 for the surveillance of oil facilities as he was working hand in hand with the military then.
“Tompolo is a man of peace and he is poised for the development of the coastal Niger Delta region. He prays that this matter be amicably resolved so that everyone will know that he always put his people above his personal gains.”
“And true to his fears, these set of APC chieftains that joined the party immediately after the presidential election of 2015 were the first people to accuse him of bombing the pipelines to divert public attention.
“These new APC members who the former chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, described as parasites, also threatened to cause problem in the Niger Delta region if the pipeline surveillance contract in Delta State already awarded to Messers Ocean Marine Solution is not re-awarded to them.
This is a clear testimony of their involvement in the bombing of the pipelines. Since then, we all have seen their role in misleading the military and the general public.
“Now, it could be recalled that this same Africanus Ukparasia threatened Tompolo not to show interest in the elections, as he was a strong supporter of the APC candidate. He killed and maimed fellow Ijaw people because of a governorship election, and now he is the one accusing Tompolo of bombing pipelines.”
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