Government Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari denying his involvement in the vandalism of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
The former militant is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and has been arraigned by the anti-graft agency in absentia. Shortly after he was declared wanted, a group, Niger Delta Avengers claimed responsibility of the bombing of pipelines and vowed to continue their operation until the lives of the people in the region improved.
The vandals have been fingered as Tompolo’s boys who have been accused of committing the atrocities because their boss was wanted by the EFCC.
Leadership reports that Tompolo, in an open letter personally signed and titled “Am not part of the Niger Delta Avengers Group”, alleged that the oil pipeline repair servicing companies sabotage the pipelines in order to secure surveillance and repair contracts from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) due to deficiency in handling the jobs.
He also claimed that members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta and Bayelsa states were unhappy with the president over delay in political appointment and were could have commited atrocities in the region due to Buhari’s disappointment.
The letter reads;
“It is very important to let Mr President and the security agencies in the country know that some members of the ruling party, particularly from Bayelsa and Delta states, are not happy with him ‘President Buhari’ because they have not gotten anything from him after almost a year since he assumed office by way of appointments and contracts, therefore some of them are involved in nefarious activities in the oil and gas sector in order to be engaged in pipeline surveillance.
“I am aware of how such persons are chasing the Minister of Petroleum for State, Dr Ibe Kachikwu around. It is my humble advice to the federal government to thoroughly investigate some of the servicing companies engaged in repairing damaged pipelines as sabotage on their own part is not ruled out. Some of them may not even have the capacity to carry out such repairs but must have worked their way in to get the contract in connivance with some people at the corridors of power
and turn around to tender the security situation in the Niger Delta as an excuse because they are being paid ‘down time’ payment. “
“I have said on many occasions that I will not resort to violence because of my case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or wage war against the federal government as my legal team is working towards the resolution of the issue.”
Tompolo said that although he took part in the establishment of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the membership and operations of the new group is not known to him.
“My attention has been drawn to security reports linking me to a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, who claimed responsibility for the damaged Forcados 48-Inch Export Pipeline some time ago, it is imperative to state unequivocally that I do not have a link with this new militant group. I am not part of the group.”
Meanwhile, thee Nigerian army sent a strong message to militants in the Niger Delta region to desist from pipeline vandalism or be treated like criminals.
The call was made following vows made by the Niger Delta Avengers to continue to bomb pipelines in the Niger Delta region.