The former Niger Delta militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, at the weekend, broke his silence over the recent attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the region, urging the President Mohammad Buhari to investigate the oil servicing companies.
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.
Tompolo’s statement, made available to newsmen via email, also drew the attention of President Muhammad Buhari to the rising disenchantment among members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta and Bayelsa states over delay in political appointments, claiming that such delay may have also lured the party members into nefarious activities such as oil and gas pipeline attacks.
The statement read in part, “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. “
The statement also urged the oil servicing companies to go about their normal operations, particularly the repair of the Forcados 48-inch pipeline which is very key to the economic stability of our country.
“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,” it stated.
On his alleged membership of a new militant group known as the Niger Delta Avengers, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo said though he had took part in the setting up of the defunct 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,” he stressed.