Wanted former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, has declared readiness to appear before the court to answer to multibillion naira corruption fraud accusations leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
It would be recalled that Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos, exactly two weeks ago, issued a bench warrant of arrest on Tompolo following his failure to appear before the court for his arraignment over an alleged N34 billion scam preferred against him, ex-Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and four other persons as well as their companies by the EFCC.
Declaring readiness to face the charges, the ex-militant leader said “I will appear in court at the appropriate time”.
Tompolo, in a statement early Thursday morning, disclosed that his legal team is finalising moves towards his day in court.
The ex-agitator, in a statement by his media aide, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, also denied his involvement in the January 15 bombing of oil facilities in Warri.
He further denied reports credited to his erstwhile colleague and comrade-in-arms, Mr Africanus Ukparasia aka ‘General’Africa that he (Tompolo) is amassing tools to go to war with the Federal Government, stressing that he remained bounded by the terms of his 2009 amnesty deal.
Ukparasia, who has since fallen out with the former MEND leader, also alleged that Tompolo was the brain behind the wanton destruction of gas and crude pipelines in Warri area of Delta state.
The statement, however, maintained: “Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) has consistently maintained that he has no hand in the recent bombing of oil pipelines in the creeks of Delta State.
“Let it be known to Nigerians and the entire World that, Tompolo will never wage a war against the Federal Government, as he has sworn in 2009 when he accepted the Presidential amnesty declared by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“He has kept faith with Nigeria. He has promised to work with the present administration unconditionally, and he stands by that declaration.
“He was seriously troubled by the recent pipeline bombing incident, because he has provided security for these pipelines even when the government refused to pay him. And so, he could not have been the one to damage same pipelines”.
Speaking on allegation that he is acquiring speed boats for war, he said “it is the biggest lie of the year, as the military is also aware of the boats and pick-up vans he purchased in 2011 for the surveillance of oil facilities as he was working hand in hand with the military then.
“Tompolo is a man of peace and he is poised for the development of the coastal Niger Delta region. He prays that this matter be amicably resolved so that everyone will know that he always put his people above his person gains”.
Tomopolo recalled that before the bombing incident, he alerted the public that some aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Bayelsa and Delta States were planning on bombing vital national assets, especially oil pipelines in the Niger Delta as a result of the outcome of the 2015 governorship election of Bayelsa State, where the APC lost, and then blame it on him.
“And true to his fears, these set of APC chieftains that joined the party immediately after the presidential election of 2015, were the first people to accuse him of bombing the pipelines to divert public attention.
“These new APC members who the former chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, described as parasites, also threatened to cause problem in the Niger Delta region if the pipeline surveillance contract in Delta State already awarded to Messers Ocean Marine Solution is not re-awarded to them.
“This is a clear testimony of their involvement in the bombing of the pipelines. Since then, we all have seen their role in misleading the military and the general public.
“Now, it could be recalled that this same Africanus Ukparasia threatened Tompolo not to show interest in the elections, as he was a strong supporter of the APC candidate. He killed and maimed fellow Ijaw people because of a governorship election, and now he is the one accusing Tompolo of bombing pipelines”, Bebenimibo said in the statement.