Ex-agitator and businessman, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), yesterday described his invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as an unnecessary and face-saving effort at brinkmanship.
The EFCC had threatened to declare the former militant leader wanted over his role in a N13 billion land scam involving the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, if he failed to honour its invitation unfailing on Thursday, December 17.
Tompolo, however, dismissed the threat as a ploy to intimidate and witch-hunt him because of his refusal to back the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the inconclusive Bayelsa State governorship election.
This is just as he vowed not to honour the latest invitation from EFCC as he has already filed a suit in court against the commission.
The Gbaramatu traditional titleholder, who was reacting to reports that he was on the run on account of the EFCC’s invitation said in a statement yesterday: “I know why they are after me. It is not the alleged multi-billion naira property transaction. After all, 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 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!
“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”.
Tompolo said his lawyers’ response stating why he wouldn’t honour EFCC’s invitation was conveyed to the EFCC on December 3, adding, “I have proof of delivery from the courier company”.
He expressed surprise that the EFCC, which should be a reputable institution, would stoop so low as to lie to Nigerians that he refused to honour the invitation, adding: “my Solicitor’s letter indicated I am already in court with the EFCC.
“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.
“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.
“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”.
On the threat by the EFCC to declare him wanted, Tompolo vowed that he would not be intimidated, adding, “The threat to declare me wanted is an unnecessary attempt to heat up the polity. I will go about my daily business, usual”.