Omos Oyibode, Asaba
Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, aka Tompolo ,has dissociated himself from a fledging militant group in the Niger-Delta region masquerading itself as Niger Delta Avengers.
The group recently claimed responsibility for the attack on 48-Inch Pipeline at the Forcados Export Terminal, several weeks ago, but there were indications that certain military reports attempted to link Tompolo, with the dastardly act.
However, media adviser and consultant to the embattled Tompolo, Paul Bebenimibo, in a statement last night denied that Tompolo had any connection or dealings with the apparently faceless group, saying he has personally dissociated himself from the shadowy group.
Bebenimibo decried the purported security reports linking his principal with the pipeline blasts, saying it was part of the design to frame him as waging war against the Federal Government through acts of vandalism in the oil-rich region.
Tompolo wondered why his enemies would not relent in their orchestrated attempt to continue to label him as sponsoring pipeline vandalism in spite of several refutals through press releases.
He stressed that he has remained faithful to his acceptance and promised to late President Umaru Yar’Adua when the amnesty programme was instituted for repentant militants in the Niger Delta and was not considering going back on his words or throwing spanners into his noble achievements in the peace-building process.
The statement reiterated Tompolo’s claim that his avowed enemies particularly rival businessmen and members of a particular political party in Delta and Bayelsa State were the architects of the upsurge in pipeline vandalism and other acts of economic sabotage which they then hang around Tompolo.
The statement, titled “Tompolo Is Not Part of Avengers Group”, read in part: “The attention of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, the Ibe-ebidouwei of Ijaw nation, has been drawn to security reports linking him to a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which claimed responsibility for the damaged Forcados 48-Inch Export Pipeline some time ago.
“It is pertinent to state unequivocally that Tompolo does not have a link with this new militant group; he is not part of the group. It is very unfortunate that Tompolo is still being accused of pipeline vandalism despite several press releases he has made, denying his involvement in the renewed hostility in the Niger Delta region.
Since the declaration of the presidential amnesty programme by late President Yar’Adua in 2009, which he wholeheartedly embraced and accepted, he has sworn not to be part of arm struggle either overtly or covertly.”Most Nigerians, if not all, are aware of the role Tompolo played in safeguarding crude oil and gas facilities during the last administration; and, he is still doing that for the love of country, humanity and out of patriotism.