The embattled former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo, has raised alarm that the reason the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is after him is to help arrest Goodluck Jonathan.
Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo has been in hiding since he was declared wanted by the government and has been arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
In an interview with Sahara Reporters, Tompolo claimed that the former president was the primary target of the Buhari administration and he was just a victim of circumstances.
He said: “I am just a victim of circumstances. I am just a perceived enemy of the government.”
Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo has vowed to retun to the creek to protect his people “The intention of the government was to arrest former President Goodluck Jonathan.
But they feel that arresting Jonathan without arresting me may be difficult, that was the reason why they are after me.” Tompolo also spoke about his father, Osen Ekpemupolo, the Tunteriwei of Gbaramatu kingdom who died on Wednesday, September 7.
He said the invasion of soldiers on May 26 in Kurutie town in the Gbaramatu local government area where his late father led to his death as he was physically battered. “It happened in the early hours of Saturday May 28, 2016 when the Nigerian Army, under the guise of looking for members of the Niger Delta Avengers and of course my humble self, who they have accused of being behind the activities of the group without any evidence, invaded Kurutie town, where my father, Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo, was staying.
They ransacked the whole building and brutalized him. He sustained an injury in one of his legs. We took him to Warri for medical attention after one week of the incident, due to difficulty in movement from the village to Warri because of the activities of the Army.
He was admitted at Lily Clinic, where thorough medical tests were conducted on him. The doctors later advised that his lower limb should be amputated because complication had set in as a result of the injury. We agreed to this and that was done. However, he later died in the clinic after two months.” He denied the allegation that he was a sponsor of the Niger Delta Avengers that has been terrorising the Niger Delta region by bombing oil and gas pipelines. He said security operatives were only trying to frame him for something he knew nothing about.
“I have refuted the allegation. Even the government knows that I am not a sponsor of the Niger Delta Avengers. They are only looking for something to nail me.” The former militant castigated the judiciary which he described as loyal to the government rather than being independent.
Nigerians are saying “I was the first person to sue the government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because my company’s account was restricted unjustly, but till now, the court has been playing funny, as the court has refused to hear the matter. Instead,
it has been adjourning the case at every sitting. I pray that the Nigerian Judiciary should be independent, otherwise it is difficult for a perceived enemy of the government to get justice and judgement.”
Tompolo threatened to return to militancy as he said that is the only way he can help his people. “That is where I come from, and the whole of my life I have stayed there. This is just a temporary setback as I prefer to stay in the creek than any other place.
“That was why I led the struggle for a better living condition for the people so that, in the shortest possible time, the creek is urbanized so that the people will live like their counterparts in the urban areas.”
On the current economic challenges Nigeria was going through, Tompolo said it was evident that the Buhari administration was clueless. “Now Nigerians have seen the way the government has run the economy aground because they are clueless, and only chasing shadows.
It is difficult to give what you do not have.” Jonathan has been accused of being the sponsor of militancy in the Niger Delta region especially the Avengers although the former president has denied this accusation.
This became necessary as a splinter group, The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), released a list of militants’ sponsors on Saturday, August 6. >An anonymous source close to the former Nigerian leader backed his stance:
“If former President Jonathan wanted chaos in Nigeria and the Niger Delta, he would have refused to concede the election to General Buhari and the APC,” the person said.