Ex-militant, Government Ekpomupolo, also known as ‘Tompolo’ has denied allegations made against him by the pioneer chairman of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Alhaji Tijani Ramalan, that he was paid N1.5billion monthly for the protection of the nation’s maritime domain. Ramalan was the Executive Chairman of the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC) before its merger with the then National Maritime Authority (NMA) to form NIMASA. He was appointed the pioneer Chairman of NIMASA on 1st August 2006, a position he held till May 2, 2007 when the board was dissolved by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ramalan said NIMASA pays the sum of N1.5billion monthly to the ex-militant leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) to protect the nation’s maritime domain.
He lamented that despite such gesture, the country still loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the nation’s shores.
The former NIMASA chairman, who revealed this in an interview in Kaduna, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel the contract awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said, “Over 400, 000 barrels of crude oil are being stolen daily from our shores under President Jonathan; yet we had a government that has the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and the government of Jonathan decides to hand over the security of our maritime waters to Tompolo at a very exorbitant amount of money.
“And these same people that are given the job of our maritime security are the ones that are collaborating with the international shipping companies to steal our oil.”
According to him, one of the ways to help the country’s economy to bounce back is to revoke Tompolo’s contract.
“And if Buhari does not do so, we will be the first to start attacking him. There is no basis to give that kind of billion naira job to ex-militants,” he declared.
Making further clarification on how long the payment has been going on, Ramalan said it started “sometime after 2011 when Jonathan won his election” and since then the payment has been on.
“I was the pioneer chairman of NIMASA, and NIMASA is the one funding the contract given to Tompolo. This is a guy that is collecting about N1.5billion every month and yet our Armed Forces are not well funded. So, we call on the president to discard such contract.
“We supported President Buhari’s presidency because we believe that the country needs a strong leadership. The insecurity and economic problem that we are having in the country today is because of lack of a strong and quality leadership.
“We believe the country needs a leader that is not corrupt, because the issue of corruption in the country has led the country to its knees.
“The country would have gone down if the administration of Jonathan was allowed to continue. For us, we believe that having a new leader is what the country needs because of the massive corruption. We believe in President Buhari; we believe there is hope in having him as the president,” he said.
But speaking through his spokesperson, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, Tompolo said Ramalan is merely seeking desperate attention in the hope of getting a job.
His statement reads in part: “My attention has been drawn to a publication in the Leadership newspaper of Wednesday June 3, 2015. In the said publication, one Ahmed Tijani Ramalan made very wild, unsubstantiated allegations against my person that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) pays me the sum of N1.5 billion monthly for the protection of the nation’s maritime domain.
“Without any further stress, it is obvious that the said Ramalan is merely seeking an undue attention. And whatever that attention is, I make bold to say Ramalan who claims to be the pioneer chairman of NIMASA is not just economical with the truth but his outburst is an exhibition of ignorance and mischief which should be ignored by all.”
He added that he is not on the board of Global West.
“Ramalan’s contraption of any sum being paid to me is therefore rubbish, malicious, unsubstantiated and display of ignorance. I can only pity such a man whose intention is perhaps to rubbish my name and needlessly drag me into the fray of disputes at a time the new government of President Muhammadu Buhari is barely one week in office.”
Calling on President Mohammadu Buhari to ignore the allegations against him, Tompolo, added that the intention of Ramalan is to generally misled and probably position himself for a comeback to NIMASA.
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