Ben Dunno, Warri
A Niger Delta activist, Comrade Meshach Bebenimibo, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) to withdraw charges against ex-militant, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, insisting that the allegations were frivolous.
Making the appeal in a statement to felicitate with the former freedom fighter, presently in hiding over a series of allegations by the anti-graft agency, as he marks his 49th birthday on April 12, 2020, the activist noted that freedom remains the best gift to mankind.
While claiming that the petitions the EFCC was acting upon in the ongoing prosecution of the ex-Niger Delta agitator were cooked up by his enemies and detractors within the region who were envious of his remarkable achievements and influence, Bebenimibo, urged government to discountenance the allegations.
The statement reads in part: “As we look forward to celebrating the 49th birthday anniversary of our leader, mentor and free fighter of the Niger Delta region, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, AKA Tompolo, I want to personally urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to direct the EFCC to absolve him of the allegations against him.
“I want EFCC to leave Tompolo alone because the petitioners are acting out of jealousy to indict and incarcerate him; that is why they are lying to the whole world that Tompolo sold the land for the building of Nigerian Maritime University, NMU, Okerenkoko.
“But the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, had gone there with his entourage to see the quality of buildings at the temporary site and given him a resounding recommendation for a job well done.
“The petitioners know the truth and the truth is that Tompolo only sold the International Diving Institute buildings at Kurutie community and the place was sand-filled before he built the school.
“Among the structures are lecture halls, multipurpose pavilion, administrative block, vice- chancellor’s lodge and hostels for male and female students.
“The previous government brought valuers and did all necessary legal things and collected VAT before paying him about 80 per cent as agreed.
“I also urge the EFCC to have a rethink and defreeze Mieka and GlobalWest accounts owned by the ex-militant leader as part of the process towards realising genuine peace between both parties.
“It is because of Tompolo that we have Maritime University which scholars and even Niger Delta governors and NDDC cannot provide. Tompolo is a man that values education more than any known highflying personality in the Niger Delta.
“Through him, many youths are university graduates with sterling qualities. He is a peacebuilder. A man of great humility. He is the major reason why the Federal Government presence is felt by the people of Niger Delta at large”.
He then went on to thank the president for sacking ex-DG of NIMASA, Peterside Dakuku. “I urge the new management of NIMASA to bring back the NIMASA DOCKYARD sited at Okerenkoko.
“With this dockyard, the teeming unemployed youths will be employed.” He, however, commended President Buhari for his interest in the Niger Delta region and continuation of the amnesty programme.
“I also appeal to the president to as a matter of urgency to appoint a substantial chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP). Let such a man be one that understands the plight of the ex-agitators, not intellectual thief’s who are keen to embezzle funds that are meant for ex-agitators with contractors”.