Information from reliable sources craving anonymity, whose tips are always credible , have indicated that Warri High Chief General Ekpemupolo aka General Tompolo may order his boys to blow up more pipelines and plunge the nation into oil crisis if soldiers who have invaded Gbaramutu Kingdom in search of him, and ransacking the whole creeks, is not withdrawn.
The High Court sitting in Lagos had earlier in January sought for the arrest of the charges of corruption in excess of N30 Billion naira. Tompolo, fearing humiliating arrest and detention, had through his lawyer, defied the court directives and failed to answer to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) investigations. The same court has listed his properties for auction if he fails to surrender.
I alluded in an earlier piece titled ‘War in the Creeks as Buhari, Tompolo Alliance Crumbles’ that “Tompolo had boasted to groups of people two months before the renewed Biafra protests of November 2015, why he cannot support Kanu when a big masquerade called Buhari had already begged him to pipe low. At that time Kanu was still posting his hate messages from London, Therefore, before that Biafran struggle too off, many ingredients were already compromised, including Tompolo factor”. I also explained in the piece that “militant leader Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo took his luck too far. Tompolo equated his alliance with Buhari to mean that he has the license from the Muslim North to do as he likes. Tompolo started harassing every political opponent who fails to worship Him, his views and his God. He arrogated to himself the status of a Niger Delta Godfather, and this did not go down well with some sources within the ruling party”.
This alliance crumbled because Tompolo failed to remove his hand from the Bayelsa Gubernatorial elections, and bent on supporting Dickson. The duo of ex-governor Rotimi Amechi and Timipre Sylva decided that the Tompolo factor in Niger Delta politics will have to end. EFCC which had opened a case file on him since August last year, suddenly renewed efforts to capture him, especially after the ruling APC lost the Bayelsa elections. Human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo, sworn enemy of Tompolo, who is also EFCC counsel, is laughing last.
The blown pipelines in Warri and Port Harcourt were largely attributed to him, though he has vehemently denied. Information at my modest disposal shows that he knows something about the blown pipelines. His boys did the job, but probably out of overzealousness, not on instructions from him.
The issue of Tompolo has divided Niger Delta Militants. Ramsey Mukoro, a prominent militant leader warning on Tompolo issue described it as witch-hunt. According to Mukoro” none of us is happy with what is happening to Tompolo and other Ijaw people who served under Jonathan, it is a tribal witch-hunt” Iwere Peace Movement, a group advocating for Ijaw Nation and through Mr. Merie Oritsejolomi and Johnbull Deghele Omadeli warned against the Tompolo crisis. According to the group “We see the EFCC charges against Tompolo as a plot to arrest him and keep him in detention like the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr Nnamdi Kanu and the former National Security Adviser,NSA, Sambo Dasuki and murder him in detention”.
Another Niger Delta warlord, Mr Africanus Ukparasia also known as General Africa has dismissed the Tompolo threat and given government the assurances that there is nothing can do to destabilize the region, He even offered to help the security agencies dismantle the Tompolo factor. General Africa is still relevant in Niger Delta struggle.
Tompolo have been hiding in the creeks, though he has been sighted at Asaba Government House recently, and sighted in few places in Warri and Sapele, the military have not been able to capture him.
Tompolo knows what will happen if they catch him. He will most probably be handcuffed, dumped into underground cells, forced to make confessional statements and paraded like a criminal in the courts. The case of Olisa Metuh, Nnamdi Kanu, Raymond Dokpesi and Sambo Dasuki is an indication that Tompolo will be finished off.
From his hiding place Tompolo had issued fresh warning to Buhari few days ago. According to the outbursts from the warlord “You can’t send soldiers to destroy a community, arrest young men and rape women in the name of searching for Tompolo. If they claim that everybody in the Ijaw land is a criminal, does it also mean that everybody in the north is a member of Boko Haram?”
The dilemma is that if Tompolo surrenders, humiliation untold will accompany him. Ibori may be better than him. If Tompolo fights back, the nation will burn but Gbaramutu Kingdom will be another case of human rights violations in the hands of security agencies. If Tompolo capitulates, the Niger Delta struggle will be buried because this man has enough influence to marshal out formidable forces more than the rest of the groups.
Tompolo have vowed to fight back. From what I gathered, has put his people on red alert in such a manner that if anything untoward happens to him, hell will be let loose on oil installations in such a manner that soldiers will be taken by surprise. To the best of my knowledge, he is ready to wreck more havoc, and is not ready to be humiliated like Nnamdi Kanu.
What options do Tompolo or correctly put what options do the Niger Deltans have because the embattled militant is a major factor in the Niger Delta struggle. Any humiliation of Tompolo is the humiliation of Niger Delta. It will bring joy and confidence to the bruised ego of Joint Military Patrols and Task Force, whose jobs of policing the creeks were re-assigned to the militant. Soon it will be the turn of Asari Dokubo, and other warlords until all Niger Delta militants are on the run, and the zone becomes another conquered territory.
What will the Niger Deltans do to avoid this Tompolo- Buhari war of the creeks and steer the nation out of this conflict. I will discuss it sometime n the future, but before then I advise the Tompolo boys who have sworn to defy Buhari and his soldiers, blow up oil facilities and set Nigeria ablaze to suspend their plans and allow the elders work out a settlement.
Obinna Akukwe via [email protected], @ObinnaAkukwe, www.facebook.com/obinnaakukwe