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Tompolo surprise appearance rattles FG, Security Agents



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…Activists accuse EFCC of chasing shadows

From PRINCE MONDAY WHISKEY, Regional Editor, South South

AS the ultimatum given by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to founder of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) Chief Government Ekpemupolo‎, aka Tompolo expires, the ex-militant Leader weekend made a surprise appearance in his home town, Okerenkoko, Warri South West of Delta State.
The report of the shock appearance came as a surprise to many with earlier speculation that the the MEND Leader had gone underground to avoid arrest, a development which further boosted his folk hero status, with his supporters daring security agencies to apprehend him.
But National Daily gathered that the Federal Government and heads of top security agencies concerned with such high profile persons of likely threat to National security were rattled by the report, more so as the MEND Leader made no pretence to conceal his presence and instead was openly embraced by his people.
It was however not possible to verify when Tompolo would turn himself over to the EFCC ‎thereby ending the brewing face-off between the commission and the ex-militant leader over allegations that the latter was involved in a N13billion land deal.
The EFCC last week gave Tompolo a week to report to its Ikoyi, Lagos office‎ failing which the commission would be compelled to declare him wanted. He was reportedly invited for questioning over N13billion land deal in the Nigeria Maritime And Safety Agency, NIMASA.
But Tompolo weekend issued a well articulated letter detailing why the Federal Government and the EFCC was after him, revealing that he was being persecuted because of his blunt refusal to join the All Peoples Congress, APC and its candidate in the governorship election in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva.

The full text of his statement reads:
I, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo wish to state that my attention has been drawn to a news story on Channels Television of 10th December 2015.
The impression being conveyed is that I was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and I failed to honour the invitation or even respond by letter to the invitation.
On the contrary, nothing could be further from the truth. On the 24th of November 2015, I was informed at about 4pm that a letter of invitation had been dropped at my home in Warri, inviting me to EFCC’s office in Lagos by 10am on the 25th of November 2015.
I responded by a letter from my Solicitors, Messrs Jakpa, Edoge & Co. The letter dated 25th of November 2015 was received by one Uduak Ouot, a staff of EFCC on the 3rd of December 2015, after several attempts to deliver. I have proof of delivery from the courier company.
I was therefore not a little surprised that the EFCC an otherwise reputable institution would stoop so low as to lie to Nigerians.
As my Solicitor’s letter indicated I am already in court with the EFCC in Suit No: FHC/W/CS/152/2015. EFCC had been served with the court processes since 20th of October 2015 but they refused to attend court on several occasions, or to file any court papers, only to appear for the first time on 30th November 2015 without filing any court papers. They even asked for the matter to be adjourned to 17th December 2015, the date they are now inviting me to appear before them.
In fact, EFCC only invited me two months AFTER I sued them. In my Solicitor’s letter I informed them that as soon as the court decides one way or another, I would honour their invitation.
So the attempt to harass me by their reminder of 9th December 2015, which was leaked to the media on the 10th of December 2015, the same day as it was delivered to my house in Warri is an unnecessary and face saving effort at brinksmanship.
As a full-blooded Ijaw man and citizen of Nigeria, I have done everything in my power to follow the laws of Nigeria. Since the amnesty declared in 2009 by late President Yar’ Adua I have strained myself to ensure that we all live in peace in this country. Those who think they can push us to war must rethink the necessity of such a war.
How can a law-abiding Government declare a man wanted who is in the law courts with them?
They froze our business accounts since August 4th, 2015, but we have not quarrelled with anybody. We sued them to court, they refused to come to court. Now they are threatening to declare me wanted.
I know why they are after me. It is not the alleged multi-billion naira property transaction. Afterall, it went through due process and was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). And as such if there are any questions to answer, it is the people at the FEC, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Federal Ministry of Lands and Survey, Federal Ministry of Transport, NIMASA, etc who approved the transaction that should be answering such questions.
The real reason this All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Government is after me is that I bluntly refused to join APC and to support their Governorship candidate in Bayelsa State. We cannot all be in APC. Our people have always believed in the Nigerian project and had always hoped to join hands with this administration to move this project forward, but the conditions being attached are not acceptable. I insist on believing in the Nigerian project unconditionally!
We will continue to pursue our court case. The threat to declare me wanted is an unnecessary attempt to heat up the polity. I will go about my daily business, usual.
Finally, let me say this: if people can come from Sokoto, Katsina or Lagos to campaign in Bayelsa, why can’t I, a full blooded Ijaw man, go to my Bayelsa to campaign?
I will only add this: let the will of the people of Bayelsa prevail. Nobody should attempt to force the outcome of the election. We have kept faith with our promise to Nigeria, we expect no less from this country. So if anyone tells you that Tompolo is on the run, tell him Tompolo is not going anywhere.
Thank you!
High Chief Government Ekpemupolo.”

‎But vocal Niger Delta activist and National President of fearless Ijaw People Development Initiative IPDI. Comrade Austin Ozobo in a reaction described as unlawful, vindictive and an invitation to fresh crises in the Niger Delta the said announcement by the EFCC.
He described the EFCC invitation as being politically motivated, wondering why the commission would decide on such a course of action over purported sales of land to the Federal University of Marine Technology in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Council of Delta state
According to Comrade Ozobo the invitation is nothing but a calculated attempt by the Federal Gvernment led by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to intimidate and harass known figures and supporters of former President Goodluck Jonathan, pointing out that it was obvious that there was a witch hunt against those who did not support the party during the last presidential election. ‎
Said he, “Chief Government Ekpemukpolo is not a symbol of true Niger. Delta struggle but indeed represents the consciousness of true advocate of Niger delta struggle and any attempt to subject such a person to politically motivated intimidation will not only be resisted but will be seen as an invitation to fresh crises in the Nigerian economic hob”.
Comrade Ozobo told National Daily exclusively that notable advocates of the Niger Delta struggle are watching very closely the unfolding political scenario and maybe meeting anytime soon to review the situation especially as it effects the Niger Delta struggle and the continuous survival of the people in the area.
But he considered it laughable and the height of bad media campaign for a media group to go online and report that Chief Government Ekpemukpolo is on the run or hiding somewhere in Bayelsa warning that the report was selfishly crafted to enable federal troops attack innocent Communities.
“It is shameful and very unprofessional for some media practitioners’ to sit in their air-conditioned offices somewhere and begin to imagine where Tompolo will be or will do. Such report is nothing but at best calculated to smear his reputation before Nigerians and paint him in a bad light before the world. No government agency or persons have come forward to report case of fraud or illegal transaction with Tompolo and the EFCC is yet to tell Nigerians who they are working for in this present case. Who is the complainant?”, he asked.

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