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Pipeline attack: Ijaw group hails JTF over arrest, says Tompolo is vindicated



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A pan-Ijaw socio-political organisation, Niger Delta Youth for Equity and Justice (NDYEJ), has commended the Joint Task Force (JTF) for the arrest of suspected criminals behind the recent gas pipeline explosion from Escravos to Warri.

Spokesman of NDYEJ, Sam MacPepple, in a statement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday said that the arrest was commendable, especially coming after “accusing fingers have been pointed at the wrong direction” on a repented Niger-Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

He stated that the arrested leader of the gang, Nengi Ikiba, was a well-known thug of the All Progressive Congress (APC) loyal to former Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State and would help the authorities in their investigations.

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The group recalled that Tompolo had before the incident raised the alarm that some people were planning to bomb crude oil facilities in the Niger Delta region but was instead held in suspicion and his concern disregarded.

Macpepple, however, said that the arrest of Nengi Ikiba and his group had vindicated Tompolo as he urged the security agencies to investigate the suspected culprits thoroughly to “unmask their sponsors and motives behind their action”.

He attributed the explosions to political reasons, stressing that it might have been a criminal expression of dissatisfaction with the outcome of election in Bayelsa State.

“It completely beats my imagination that such heinous crime will be perpetrated just to score cheap political point. To think that they blew up the gas pipeline from Escravos to Warri down to Lagos and Abuja at three different points, namely at Opudebulor Okpelama and Kpokpo area, Chanomi creek and Sabaram behind Chevron Nigeria Limited, all because they wanted to rope in Tompolo is most bizarre.

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“It is, however, inconceivable that the bombing of such critical national assets was done for purely political reasons and this is a very important point the relevant authorities must thoroughly investigate to get to the root of the explosions. Of course,Tompolo was right when he said those behind the bombing did it because they were dissatisfied with the re-election of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and because of his support for him”, MacPepple said.

He admonished those who were still aggrieved as a result of the outcome of the Bayelsa State governorship election not to resort to destruction of national assets especially crude oil facilities and pipelines and thereafter attribute such action to Tompolo because of his position on the recent election.‎