Under fire former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), seems to have backtracked in his face-off with the law, as he has now indicated his preparedness to appear before the court to answer to multibillion naira corruption fraud accusation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He 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.
A statement by Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, Tompolo’s media aide, denied his involvement in the January 15 bombing of oil facilities in Warri.
He also denied reports credited to his erstwhile colleague and comrade in arms, Mr Africanus Ukpasia 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.
Ukpasia, who has since fallen out with the former MEND leader, also alleged that Tompolo masterminded the wanton destruction of gas and crude pipelines in Warri area of Delta state.
Bebenimibo, 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.”
He recalled that before the bombing incident, he alerted the public that some aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Bayelsa and Delta States want to destroy National assets, especially oil pipelines in the Delta Niger as a result of the outcome of the 2015 governorship election of Bayelsa State, where the APC lost the election.
He said the masterminds who carried out the acts are the ones pointing accusing fingers at him to further worsen his case with the APC-led Federal Government.
“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.”
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