*Fugitive ex-militant says President knows nothing about Niger Delta
The leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari’s ignorance about situation of the Niger Delta region.
He said the APC-led Federal Government is only interested in the oil produced in the region and not the well being of its people. This is even as the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) weekend accused the President of deceiving the international community about being in talks with Niger Delta militants.
Tompolo, who has been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for stealing billions of naira from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in his latest letter to the President, also accused him of unfair treatment and alleged molestation of his 84-year-old father, Thompson Ekpemupolo.
He claimed that his octogenarian father lost a lower limb to amputation following his encounter with troops of the Federal Government who invaded Kurutie, Warri South West Local Government Area in May.
He urged the President to take keener interest in the affairs of the region and investigate allegations against him instead of judging him by what politicians say about him.
He said, “As it stand now, you are not abreast with things happening in this part of the country, perhaps you are only abreast with crude oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta region.
“I do not need to remind Your Excellency that, the primary duty of any government is to seek after the welfare and security of the citizenry,” he said.
On his father’s travails, he added, “The military went to Kurutie Town in search of my 84-year-old father and brutalized him. We managed to rescue him to Warri and hospitalised him.
“Sadly, one of his lower limbs was amputated two weeks ago. From the doctors’ report, it will be a miracle if he survives this incident. Is this 84 years old man also a member of the Niger Delta Avengers, that he was brutalised to the point of death?
“Will your Excellency accept this in good faith if this was done to your father or someone of this age in your family? I have not heard of anyone that was treated like this even in the volatile North Eastern part of the country,” he added
Tompolo, who dwelled extensively on his case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as the N13billion NIMASA University land acquisition debacle, urged the President to deploy his trusted aides to the area to ascertain the true state of affairs.
He hinted that the issue of his alleged fraud was being used as a tool of blackmail and political vendetta, stressing that if the president took time to investigate the matter the truth would be revealed.
“Your Excellency sir, I have been wondering since the beginning of my travails at your instance, and I wish to ask whether, is this part of the fight against corruption in Nigeria? Or was it because I supported my kinsman, former president Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections? I thought everyone in Nigeria has the liberty to support whoever he or she deemed fit in an election.
“And as Dr Jonathan bravely accepted the outcome of the election, which brought you in as President of Nigeria today, I thought you will heal wounds as the father of the Nation. And it was on this premise that I visited you immediately after your swear-in ceremony to pledge my loyalty and readiness to work with your administration.
“I am yet to be told the reason for all these shenanigans exhibited by your security agencies and party members. I really want to know whether this macabre dance is being declared by you or is it out of their own volition to perpetuate this high level of hatred on my person and close associates? It has really gotten to a worrisome dimension as the situation is getting deteriorated by the day.
“The latest victims of this unwarranted, misdirected and wicked act are Hon. Simeon Bebenimibo, a member of the Delta State Waterway and Land Security Committee and a driver of one of my aides, Ebipade Kari, who was on an errand with a little baby.
“The baby was thrown away from the vehicle, as the driver was beaten to pulp by your men, as he was asked the whereabouts of his boss.
“That was not all, the military men stormed the house of one of my younger brothers, and harassed his pregnant wife with guns pointed at her. This has led to complications because of the closeness to her full time of delivery.
“The duo who were arrested are presently in the custody of the Nigerian Army, Effurun. Before this incident, the Navy went to the apartment of another of my aide, and picked up his heavily pregnant wife as he was out of town, and kept her for 24 hours in the Navy base before releasing her.
“The truth of the matter is that I have been treated unfairly by you sir. After all these hullabaloo about the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in which I was accused of some wrong doing, you are yet to send emissaries to Okerenkoko (permanent site) and Kurutie(temporary site) of the University to ascertain the level of things on ground,” he said.
In a separate development, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has said President Muhammadu Buhari was deceiving Nigerians and the international community about being in talks with Niger Delta militants.
President Buhari had on Thursday said his government was negotiating with Niger Delta militants through International Oil Companies and law enforcement agencies.
He spoke during a farewell audience with Michael Zinner, outgoing German Ambassador to Nigeria.
Reacting to the position of Buhari, IYC’s spokesman, Eric Omare, said it was ridiculous and laughable for the President to claim the government was in talk with the militants through the IOCs.
The IYC said the action of the government amounts to surrounding the sovereignty of Nigeria to IOCs.
The group expressed concern that with the development, the Buhari administration may have returned Nigeria to pre-colonial and independence Royal Niger Company days where international companies governed Nigeria.
The statement said, “The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide says that President Buhari and the federal government of Nigeria should stop deceiving Nigerians and the international community about talks with Niger Delta militants on how to stop attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.
“It is highly ridiculous and laughable for President Buhari to say that his government is negotiating with Niger Delta militants through oil companies and law enforcement agencies during the farewell audience with Mr. Michael Zinner, the outgoing Ambassador to Germany on Thursday, the 21st of July, 2016.
“It is even embarrassing for the President of an independent nation such as Nigeria to say that it is oil companies that are negotiating for peace with Niger Delta agitators which in effect amounts to surrounding the sovereignty of Nigeria to international oil companies.
“The IYC wonder if Nigeria is back to the pre-colonial and independence Royal Niger Company days where international companies govern Nigeria.
“The point must be made that the issues at stake are completely beyond the capacity of oil companies to resolve.
“For the umpteenth time, the IYC call on the Aides and Advisers to President Buhari to properly advise him on how to solve the current hostilities in the Niger Delta region and equally display a determination to resolve the problem as his predecessors did.
“Only a sincere and holistic dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta region which is aimed at addressing the remote causes of recurrent militancy can bring permanent peace to the Niger Delta region.
“This can only happen when President Buhari as the political leader of Nigeria come down to the negotiation table.”
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