Tompolo blames oil firms for pipeline attacks

A former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), has urged security agencies to investigate activities of oil companies in Niger Delta for the spate of attacks on pipelines and oil facilities in the region.

Reacting to insinuations that he was behind the Niger Delta Avengers, a group which claimed responsibility for the attacks on key oil facilities, including the Forcados Crude Export line in Burutu, Delta State, Tompolo said oil servicing companies angling for the repair contracts, and not him, were responsible for the attacks.

In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, Tompolo assured that oil multinationals and their service firms had nothing to worry about him because he was reformed.

He said, “I wish to appeal to the servicing companies to go about their normal operations, particularly the repair of the Forcados 48-inch pipeline, which is key to our economic stability.”

“I have said I will not resort to violence because of my case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or to wage war against the Federal Government, as my legal team is working towards the resolution of the issue. I pray God should see me through these trying times.

“It is unfortunate that I am accused of pipeline vandalism, despite my statements to deny involvement in the renewed hostilities in Niger Delta. Since the declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009, which I wholeheartedly embraced and accepted, I had sworn not to be part of any arms struggle, either overtly or covertly.

“Most Nigerians are aware of the role I played in safeguarding and protecting crude oil and gas facilities during the last administration; I am still interested in doing so for the love of country, humanity and out of patriotism. It is worthy of mention that as I was protecting oil facilities, I incurred the wrath of pipeline vandals and illegal refinery operators; till now some of them are still angry with me.

“Therefore, it is worrisome for security agencies to link me with such people who are still angry with me. It would be recalled that when I founded the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) at the peak of the Niger Delta agitation for a better living for the people, I did not mince words. So, if it was me that is behind the Niger Delta Avengers, I would have come out openly to claim the leadership.

“I am a man of my word. Therefore, I should be taken as such by security agencies. It is unfair to link me with this new militant group, which I do not agree with, in terms of its philosophy, ideology and mode of operation. I am not a part of the Niger Delta Avengers.

“Let it be known that I am proud of my achievements through non-violence advocacy since the enthronement of the 2009 Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta region, particularly in the coastal areas. For instance, the establishment of the first maritime university and a dock/ship building yard and other good things.

“I make bold to say that I have attracted more development to the Niger Delta region than my traducers. Therefore, it is unreasonable and unimaginable to associate me with any person(s) or group involved in pipeline vandalism and other criminal activities in Niger Delta.”

Tompolo urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government to look inward in the search for masterminds of recent attacks.

According to him, his party men in Bayelsa State were getting agitated over lack of political patronage.

He said, “I am aware of how such persons are chasing the Minister of Petroleum for State, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, around. I advise the Federal Government to investigate some of the servicing companies engaged in repairing damaged pipelines; sabotage on their part is not ruled out. Some of them may not have the capacity to carry out such repairs, but must have worked their way to get the contract in connivance with people in the corridor of powers, and turn around to tender the security situation in the Niger Delta as an excuse, as they are being paid ‘down time’ payment.”

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