The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has described as cheap blackmail, the claim that ex-Niger Delta militant, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, was awarded a contract by the Nigeria Maritime Academy and Safety Administration, NIMASA, to acquire warships to carryout ethnic cleansing.
In a statement issued in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital and signed by its Spokesman, Comrade Eric Omare, the IYC noted that the attack on NIMASA and Global West – Tompolo’s company – of acquiring warships with which to protect the waterways instead of the Nigeria Navy shows ignorance and lack of understanding of the workings of NIMASA.
The statement reads, “The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide has watched with utmost concern the calculated and persistent campaign of calumny against the Ijaw nation and its leaders by Itsekiris of Delta State.
“Ordinarily, the IYC do not join issues with other ethnic groups within the Niger-Delta region in pursuant of our objective of providing leadership to other ethnic groups and extension of hands of friendship as demanded by the historic Kaiama Declaration.
“However, we are constrained to react in the instant case because of the weighty allegations being levelled against the Ijaw Nation and its leaders such as the alleged acquisition of warships by Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) to carry out ethnic cleansing in the Niger-Delta and the persistent attacks on President Jonathan arising from the EPZ flag-off and the 2015 Delta State elections. We wish to state as follows that:
“It is mischievous for the Itsekiris to allege that Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) was awarded a contract by NIMASA for which he has acquired warships to carryout ethnic cleansing.
“It is common knowledge that NIMASA has a statutory responsibility to provide protection for merchant vessels against rising levels of sea piracy and in the performance of its functions, the NIMASA Act empowered the Board to engage anybody or organisation that is capable.
“It is on this basis that Global West, a company duly registered under Nigerian laws was engaged and it is an established fact that the company has greatly assisted NIMASA in the performance of its functions.
“The role of Global West is not in any way different from the role being played by any contractor to government agencies such as the Police, Army, Air Force etc. In any case, Global West is a separate and distinct body from Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo).
“The Itsekiris attack on NIMASA and Global West of acquiring warship with which to protect the waterways instead of the Nigeria Navy shows ignorance and lack of understanding of the workings of NIMASA. The Nigerian Navy is part and parcel of the management of NIMASA as they form part of the Governing Board of NIMASA as clearly provided for under the NIMASA Act.
“The IYC call on Itsekiris to stop their smear campaign against the Ijaw nation and its leaders. The Itsekiri attitude of always antagonising the Ijaws at all times without justifiable reasons clearly shows an act of bad neighbourliness.
“The Ijaws have been very good neighbours to the Itsekiris without show of corresponding friendship from the Itsekiris. It would be recalled that the very critical support of the Ijaws to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan made him to be the Governor of Delta State especially his victory in the rerun election of January 2011.
“However, the Itsekiris would not have given similar support if they were in the position of the Ijaws. All their smear campaigns against Chief Government Ekpemipolo and President Goodluck Jonathan are targeted at the 2015 Presidential election. This is obviously an act of betrayal on the part of the Itsekiris and bad neighbourliness for which we advise them to have a rethink”.