NIGER DELTA: You need me to drive your change mantra, Tompolo tells Buhari

 •Questions the integrity of the fight against corruption

WARRI ~ The embattled leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo have in a strong worded letter revealed that President Mohammadu Buhari needs him to drive the change mantra in the Niger Delta region.

Chief Tompolo in the said letter expresses worries over the high level of insecurity in the Niger Delta region while alleging that President Mohammadu Buhari should be wary of elements within the All Progressives Congress (APC) that are bent on arresting his associates and family members. He heavily frowned at what he described as the continuous harassment of his family members and close associates by Security operatives.

However, he challenges the President on the integrity of the fight against corruption in the country while wondering if his ordeal and the incessant arrests where also part of the fight against corruption.

The letter charges the Nigerian Army,  Navy, Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigerian Police Force on a more professional conducts than to be used by civilians within the Niger Delta to serve their personal motives.

The former militant leader demonstrated in the letter, the unwavering love he has for the genuine development of the Niger Delta which was alleged to have been the main reason why he had to agree on a contract term with the Federal Government in using his hitherto diving school at Kurutie as a take off campus for the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko in Delta State that have been greeted with controversies.

He also called on President Buhari to send his most trusted men to the Kingdom to inquire more about the Institution and how it was established with documental evidence and not casting aspersions from afar.

“The Continuous Harassment of My Family Members and Close Associates by Security Agents and Over Zealous APC members is worrisome

“I wish to write your excellency once again on the continuous harassment and intimidation of my family members and close associates by your security agencies (Nigerian Army, Navy, Department of State Security {DSS}, and the Police) in connivance with one Ayiri Emami and Michael Johnny, both members of your party, All Progressives Congress (APC).

“The latest victims of this unwarranted, misdirected and wicked act are Hon. Simeon Bebenimibo, a member of the Delta State Waterway and Land Security Committee and a driver of one of my aides, Mr Ebipade Kari, who was on an errand with a little baby. The baby was thrown away from the vehicle, as the driver was beaten to pulp by your men, as he was asked the whereabouts of his boss. That was not all, the military men stormed the house of one of my younger brothers, and harassed his pregnant wife with guns pointed at her. This has led to complications because of the closeness to her full time of delivery. The duo who were arrested are presently in the custody of the Nigerian Army, Effurun. Before this incident, the Navy went to the apartment of another of my aide, and picked up his heavily pregnant wife as he was out of town, and kept her for 24 hours in the Navy base before releasing her. The mode of operation is that the military command usually decorates associates of Ayiri Emami and Michael Johnny with military uniforms and they go from door to door with a long list of names and addresses of my family members and associates with the intention of arresting them.

“Your Excellency sir, it could be recalled that this was how the military went to Oporoza town on Saturday May 28, 2016, at about 2am, and held the community to hostage for one week. During that midnight invasion, the military catered away valuables worth several millions of naira, desecrated worship centres and took away the symbol of authority of the Gbaramatu people from the Egbesu shrine, as well as picked up 10 innocent students and palace staff, most of whom are orphans, preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Up till now, their whereabouts is unknown. That same day, the military went to Kurutie Town in search of my 84 years old father and brutalized him. We managed to rescue him to Warri and hospitalised him. Sadly, one of his lower limbs was amputated two weeks ago. From the doctors report, it will be a thing of miracle if he survives this incident. Is this 84 years old man also a member of the Niger Delta Avengers, that he was brutalised to the point of death? Will your excellency accept this in good faith if this was done to your father or someone of this age in your family? I have not heard of anyone that was treated like this even in the volatile North Eastern part of the country. I have said it in many occasions that the issue I am having with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not lead to violence or resort to destruction of pipelines and other oil facilities, because I have a good case.

“Your Excellency sir, I have been wondering since the beginning of my travails at your instance, and I wish to ask whether, is this part of the fight against corruption in Nigeria? Or was it because I supported my kinsman, former president Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections? I thought everyone in Nigeria has the liberty to support whoever he or she deemed fit in an election. And as Dr Jonathan bravely accepted the outcome of the election, which brought you in as president of Nigeria today, I thought you will heal wounds as the father of the Nation. And it was on this premise that I visited you immediately after your swear-in ceremony to pledge my loyalty and readiness to work with your administration.  I am yet to be told the reason for all these shenanigans exhibited by your security agencies and party members (Ayiri Emami and Michael Johnny). I really want to know whether this marcaba dance is being declared by you or is it out of their own volition to perpetuate this high level of hatred on my person and close associates? It has really gotten to a worrisome dimension as the situation is getting deteriorated by the day.

“Your Excellency sir, I only contributed to the development of the Nigerian Maritime University. I only agreed to sell my property, Mieka International Diving School structures (19 gigantic buildings of various sizes on 12 hectares of reclaimed land) for the quick and flawless take off of the University. And it all went through due process. I never knew my goodwill and patriotism will lead me to where I am now. I have this burning desire to attract developmental strides to this difficult terrain, as it is the only thing for the people of the Niger Delta, particularly the coastal areas, to continue to have faith in Nigeria as the area has been neglected for so long a time. Your Excellency sir, it is instructive to state that you need me to drive this your change agenda in the Niger Delta region as I am ever passionate to improve the living condition of the people of the region.

“The truth of the matter is that I have been treated unfairly by you sir. After all these hallubalo about the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in which I was accused of some wrong doing, you are yet to send emissaries to Okerenkoko (permanent site) and Kurutie( temporary site) of the University to ascertain the level of things on ground. Your Excellency sir, you are being respected today because of your integrity and sincerity of purpose, therefore you need to consciously investigate the issues surrounding the establishment of the University. If you can send some of your trusted men to visit the sites of the University and request for documents from the Federal Ministries of Transportation and Land and Survey, then you would have succeeded in unravelling the truth behind this University controversy.

“Your Excellency would have investigated this issue of whether 13b naira was used to purchase a land for the Maritime University since assumption of office, owing to the fact that the entire country is your constituency. As it stand now, you are not abreast with things happening in this part of the country, perhaps you are only abreast with crude oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta region. I do not need to remind your excellency that, the primary duty of any government is to seek after the welfare and security of the citizenry. Unfortunately the people of the Niger Delta region, particularly the coastal people are relegated to the background despite the huge revenue contribution from the area to the coffers of the country.

“Mr President sir, I have written you several open letters. I have stated my position clearly each time I write you. This may be my last open letter to you. I believe the truth will come to stay one day. You need to do the right thing by uniting the entire country. Be wary of bogus informants. Always try as much as possible to hear every side of issues that are brought before you. By this, you will always know those that sincerely love you.” The letter stated.

Oweizide maintains that the Niger Delta has been relegated  to the lowest background despite its huge economic contributions to the Nation while beckoning on the President whom he described as the father of the Country as he advised Buhari to unit the country while urging him to give a fair hearing to both sides whenever issues are brought before him.

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