Ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo popularly called Tompolo, has explained the reason behind his decision not to honour a court summons issued on him by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos, for which a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Tompolo was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before the federal high court on 40-count charge of unlawful conversion and stealing running into over N34bn belonging to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
However, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the repentant Niger Delta warlord said he has nothing to do with the matter in court, blaming his refusal to appear in court on the EFCC, its lawyer Festus Keyamo and some ex-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He also accused former governor and APC flag bearer in the recently concluded governorship polls in Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylva, of being after him.
The letter, sent by Tompolo’s media aide, Comrade Paul Bebenimbo, said: “The truth of the matter is that I do not know anything about the N34 billion Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is talking about. First, it was N13 billion issue, now it is N34 billion.
“I am not a signatory to any of the companies mentioned in the said N34 billion case, so I do not know where this one is coming from.
“I know that God in His infinite mercy will see me through in this critical moment”.
According to Tompolo, the EFCC and its team of lawyers are using the alleged fraud case for personal vendetta against him.
The ex-militant, who is accused of being behind the destruction of oil facilities in his home state of Delta, urged President Buhari to be wary of some of his party members in the Niger Delta, particularly those who left the PDP for the APC.
Tompolo described these new APC converts as mischievous and desperate, warning the president that they do not share his vision and mission just as they do not believe in good governance.
He said: “They (APC members) are the ones carrying out the act to smear my name. They are doing this in connivance with the EFCC lawyer, who is also a member of your party, who is in the forefront of prosecuting me because I refused to buy a property from him”.
“As for the EFCC lawyer, he approached me some years back that I should come to Abuja and Lagos to buy some choice property worth billions of naira from him. I told him that I do not have such money to buy property.
“Since then he has been looking for any opportunity to drag me into matters I do not know anything about. And this is one of the reasons why I have not appeared in the court because he is not qualified to prosecute me”, he added.
On the ex-governor, he said: “I wish to inform you that it has come to my knowledge that the leader of your party and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa and a few young men from Warri South West council of Delta State, who joined the party from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the 2015 presidential election, are bent on linking me to the renewed vandalism of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, whereas they are the ones carrying out the act to smear my name. They are doing this in connivance with the EFCC lawyer.
“The leader of your party in Bayelsa State approached me shortly after my meeting with you in Abuja that I should accompany him to meet you and plead for him to be appointed special adviser (SA) and chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, which I refused to do because of his antecedents, as an unreliable and trustworthy person.
“It was thereafter he forced his way into the governorship election of the state, which almost tore the state apart with violence, beginning with the party primary in which he demonstrated a high level of desperation as was recounted by the Chairman of the committee and Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“As for members of the party from my local government area, Warri South-West, they have been involved in illegal bunkering and oil theft activities over the years, which I have been fighting against because of my love for country. They know me as a no-nonsense person. There is this one from Gbaramatu kingdom with me that has sworn to kill me because I refused to manipulate the ascension to our traditional stool in his favour when he was not even qualified for it. And so, he looks for any opportunity to deal with me”.
When contacted, Keyamo dismissed the claim by Tompolo, stressing that the case was not a personal issue and advised the accused to take his defence to the law court.