*Says military invasion unprecedented, oppressive
*Soldiers still holding symbol of Egbesu shrine from Oporoza invasion
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Former leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly called Tompolo, has again appealed to the members of the emergent militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), to accept the reported Federal Government’s offer of the dialogue option to resolve the resurgence of militancy in the oil-rich region.
He said that the appeal had become necessary because the NDA members were inadvertently promoting the militarization of the Niger Delta through the series of bombings they were carrying out in the area even as fingers were being wrongly pointed to him (Tompolo).
The ex-militant also noted that the new militant group has unwittingly opened wide the door for political jobbers and criminally minded elements “within the government circle”, who have suddenly emerged as dubious businessmen offering to arrange fraudulent negotiated deals between the government and militants.
He described the recent invasion of Ijaw kingdom of Gbaramatu by joint military operatives as unprecedented, oppressive and a sad reminder of similar military invasion of the area in 2009 before the introduction of the amnesty programme by the Yar’Adua administration.
The passionate plea by Ekpmupolo, who holds the high-ranking traditional title of Ibe-ebidouwei of the Ijaw nation, is contained in a press statement he personally signed and e-mailed to THISDAY in Asaba.
Tompolo, who has been in hiding since being declared wanted on February 11, 2016, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection with his alleged involvement in a N45 billion fraud, has continued to wield much influence in the region with allegation in certain quarters that he might know something about the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta.
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