The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the corruption trial of one of its commanders, Government ‘Tompolo’ Ekpemupolo, saying he has the capacity to stop the incessant blowing of pipelines in the region.
MEND said Tompolo wills powerful influence in the Niger Delta, and the suspension of the of the charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will give him room to restore peace to the region.
The ex-militant leader has severally denied involvement with or affiliation to the Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group responsible for the many attacks on oil installations in the past months. MEND has however submitted the final list of its dialogue group, Aaron team 2, in a letter written to the President.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) hereby submits the final list of members of the Aaron Team 2 dialogue, peace and development initiative inaugurated by MEND on June 12, 2016 to find sustainable solutions to the Niger Delta crisis,” the letter signed by the group’s spokesman,Jomo Gbomo, said.
Mr. Odei Ajumogobia, who has unblemished record, character and integrity and is widely respected throughout the entire Niger Delta region, is our chief negotiator in the proposed dialogue with the federal government
“HRH King Alfred Papapreye Diette-Spiff was the first military governor of the old Rivers state and is currently, a 1st class traditional ruler in Bayelsa state.
He is the deputy leader of the Aaron Team as well as the representative of the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group (NDDCG). However, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa from Cross River state shall be representing all Bakassi militant groups and aggrieved communities from that axis of the Niger Delta, who see her as their mother.
Former Senate President Adolphus Wabara is in the Aaron Team to represent Abia and Imo states. He is widely respected across both states and shall deploy his vast wealth of experience for the benefit of the dialogue, peace and development initiative.
High Chief Government Ekpemupolo’s inclusion in the final list was principally because of the key role he continues to play in the Niger Delta as a notable ex-militant leader; philanthropist; traditional title holder and mobilizer of amazing capacity. It will therefore be counter-productive if the federal government ignored such an individual who may be capable of talking to the militants in the creeks to ceasefire.
We are very much aware of the pending criminal charges filed against Government Ekpemupolo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). However, we strongly advice that the charge be suspended until after the conclusion of the Aaron Team assignment. This is to ensure that Mr. Ekpemupolo devotes his time, energy and resources towards the resolution of the current Niger Delta crisis without any fear of arrest, intimidation or harassment.”
The group also demanded the immediate release of Henry and Charles Okah.