*Says pipeline vandals masquerading as contractors would benefit from pipeline repairs
*Says military claims linking him with bombings wicked
By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, has appealed to members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the emergent militant group that has carried out a series of explosive attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, to cease the hostilities and give peace a chance.
Tompolo, who made the appealed via a special release e-mailed to THISDAY in Asaba on Sunday evening, and titled, “A Call to the Niger Delta Avengers to Give Peace a Chance in the Niger Delta Region”, noted that such a call had become necessary in his personal interest and that of the Niger Delta people.
Specifically, the Ijaw senior chief urged the militants to “put an end to this act of pipeline vandalism as it will not do our dear country any good, especially in this critical period of our economic history.”
He noted that his concerned reaction was partly prompted by the attempts in certain quarters to link him (Ekpemupolo) with the spate of bombing of oil pipelines in Delta and Bayelsa states, but for which the NDA has claimed responsibility.
He said that there have been theories regarding the real brains behind the different bombings in the last few weeks that have reportedly severely reduced crude oil production in the Niger Delta with some people claiming that some beneficiaries of Tompolo’s scholarship and other empowerment schemes.
They claim these “Tompolo Boys” might be calling themselves the Niger Delta Avengers and bombing the oil facilities in a kind of retaliation for the perceived humiliation and harassment of Tompolo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which is prosecuting the ex-warlord over allegations of financial impropriety in deals under the immediate past federal government.
Moreover, he said the NDA might be unconsciously helping the course of some dubious businessmen particularly from the oil-rich region who are actually pipeline vandals and oil thieves but who would end up being given the contracts for the repair of the pipelines they (the NDA) were now destroying.
Further details later