GOVERNMENT Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), who is currently been hunted by security agents over allegations of fraud leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has established contact with Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Deputy Governor of Delta State and chairman, Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism.
Tompolo, believed to be the godfather of Otuaro following his contributions in making him deputy governor, was said to have telephoned Otuaro from his hideout on Saturday, May 28, alleging that soldiers’ invasion of Oporoza community in search of him was a calculated plot to make him join forces with the Niger Delta Avengers, the new militant group that have destroyed several oil installations in the delta in recent times.
In a report credited to Vanguard, the former commander of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, was quoted to have told Otuaro that despite the aggravating military action, which has left defenceless women and children trapped in the bush since Saturday, he would never renege on his stand against bombing of oil installations having accepted amnesty in 2009.
A source which confided in the newspaper said: “I can tell you that Tompolo actually phoned the deputy governor telling him that he was being tempted to go back to his vomit by the military, but he would not like to fall for it. The deputy governor counselled him not to ever make such a mistake his life.”
The report continued that when contacted on the veracity of Tompolo’s phone call to him, Otuaro confirmed that the wanted former militant actually called him. “It is true; it was yesterday (Saturday) that he called my phone on the Oporoza military invasion allegedly in search for him, which left helpless women and children in the bush for over 48 hours now.”
According to the report, he said it (the alleged invasion), was a temptation intended to provoke him to join forces with the Niger Delta Avengers. “In his (Tompolo) words, ’I have often denounced and dissociated myself from the Niger Delta Avengers, I am not an Avenger and I do not want to be part of them. I pray and wish not to fall into that temptation.’ This is what he told me on the phone”, Otuaro was quoted to have said.
It could be recalled that the Otuaro-led Advocacy Committee had earlier said it has opened platforms for dialogue for whoever that is aggrieved in the Niger Delta region, including suspected members of Niger Delta Avengers and ex-MEND leader, Tompolo in a bid to avert crises that may not discriminate between the innocent and the guilty within the region.
It would also be recalled that Otuaro had earlier been allegedly accused of harbouring Tompolo, an allegations he had since denied but a source said that Tompolo who is currently in distress would ordinary reach his kinsmen to establish channel for dialogue between him and federal government.
Meanwhile, soldiers have continued the siege on Gbaramatu Kingdom, swooping on Tompolo’s ancestral home of Kurutie in six gunboats at about 4:30 am on Monday probably in search for Tompolo on one hand and members of the Niger Delta Avengers on the other. The residents woke up to the sound of gunboats by the soldiers who arrived the community in wee hours and cordoned it off while embarking on a house to house search.
Saturday’s raid on Oporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom reportedly led to the arrest of about ten persons who the army paraded as suspected members of NDA. Tompolo had repeatedly denied having any link with the Niger Delta Avengers, but the military seemed to disbelieve him and are still after him.
— May 30, 2016 @ 17:20 GMT