Military invasion: Tompolo kinsmen demand payment of N100bn judgment fee

Tompolo

Leaders of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri, Delta State have expressed concerns that the Federal Government’s failure to pay N99.99 billion judgment debt on the 2009 bombing of their communities could give rise to fresh insurgence in the area.

The community leaders, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed concerns that youths are getting agitated because of the effect of the invasions on their lives and future.

They said although the Federal Government did not appeal the December 5, 2013 judgment, which ordered it to pay the 53 communities N99, 999,999,999.30, it was yet to pay off over three years after.

The judgment was delivered in a suit the communities filed against the federal government, after the bombardment and invasion by the Joint Task Force, during the bloody face-off with MEND and search for its leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo from May to June 2013.

They said the bombardment led to “deaths, maimings, displacements, including school children and wanton destruction of properties and means of livelihood.”

The letter, dated April 25, reminded the president that, “some of the children who were victims of the 2009 bombardment are now young men and women who can tacitly relate their economic and social woes of today to what befell them and their parents in 2009.

“The result is that there is serious dissatisfaction, grumbling, disharmony and rumbling in Gbaramatu because of the non-payment of the judgment debt, which ought to operate as fine closure to the issue,” the letter noted.

Chiefs Jonathan Ari, Clark Gbenewei and former Regent of the kingdom, Elder Oyagha PT Heavens, who signed the letter along with three others, expressed concern that their resort to the court of law to seek redress is resulting in frustration and helplessness.

They noted that the situation was because “the machinery for the enforcement of the judgment is in the hands of the very judgment debtor – the Federal Government,” yet they expressed belief that the rule of law and justice was better than “their opposite”.