No Peace Talks between FG, N’Delta Leaders Can Succeed without Tompolo, Says Activist

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

No peace talk between Niger Delta leaders and President Muhammadu Buhari will be fruitful without the inclusion of former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, a foremost activist of the region, Paul Bebenimibo, declared monday.

He therefore urged the federal government to make effort to identify the true stakeholders in the Niger Delta, regretting that some of people being paraded as Niger Delta leaders are not even in touch with their own people let alone talking of issues regarding the region.

Bebenimibo, who however describe the meeting as a good omen “because we earlier thought that this government has abandoned the issues of the Niger Delta,” admonished the federal government to urgently kick off the Maritime University at Okerenkoko and the private sector driven $16 billion EPZ project, adding that the immediate commencement of these projects will guarantee a conducive atmosphere for dialogue.”

According to him, “We are happy that our leaders are talking with the federal government but the truth is that from the information from the grass root, government should also identify true stakeholders like Ekpemupolo. “Government should identify such people to work with because he understands the terrain; he has the capacity to check militancy and above all, his humanitarian gesture has brought him closer to the people.”

He said this is necessary because when Tompolo speaks, the youths listen, so they need him, adding that “majority of us are expressing this view because some of the leaders the federal government is speaking with are not in touch with our people, as a result, they cannot change anything. And if they go on with such people, nothing will be achieved I can tell you.

“For us to guarantee immediate peace and commence talks for the development of the Niger delta, the federal government should kick off the Maritime University at Okerenkoko. Secondly, the private sector-driven $16 billion EPZ project should start immediately to provide employment and business opportunities for our people.

“These are the two projects that will guarantee immediate peace in the Niger Delta and conducive atmosphere in the region for government to implement other programmes and also have hitch-free crude oil business.”