Following the refusal of a former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, to appear in court to face trial for alleged corruption, security agencies have mounted surveillance at the airports as part of strategies to apprehend him.
It was learnt that security personnel at the airports, including operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) had been directed to look out for Tompolo, following reports that he planned to flee the country.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered the arrest of the ex-militant for his failure to appear before him to answer 30 counts of alleged N34billion fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged Tompolo and a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, alongside eight others for N34billion fraud.
Buba had issued a bench warrant against Tompolo and ordered that he must be produced in court on February 8, 2016 “by all means to answer the charges,” but Tompolo was not arrested by the police which claimed that they were not served the court order.
When the matter came up in court on February 8, Tompolo also failed to show up, prompting the judge to re-issue the order for the ex-militant’s arrest.
The court last Thursday granted the prayer of the EFCC to seize Tompolo’s assets following the inability of security agencies to apprehend the fugitive.
As part of moves to arrest him, police personnel had combed the Bayelsa creeks in search of the former militant leader, who was believed to have gone underground to evade prosecution.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Bisi Kolawole, said the police were still searching for Tompolo.
“The police are working very hard and professionally too to arrest him as ordered by the court,” the police spokesperson said in an SMS on Saturday.
The Immigration Service Public Relations Officer, Ekpedeme King, could not be reached for comments as his phone was switched off.
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