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Tompolo Again, ex-militant leader disowns Niger Delta Avengers

Tompolo stressed that his close associates, who have also been wrongly linked to the Avengers, have no connection to the group.

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Ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, has accused the military seizing the symbol of authority of Egbesu, a deity of warfare of the Ijaws, during the invasion of Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta state.

Soldiers  had stormed the community to arrest members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and Tompolo following the incessant attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.

The NDA had claimed responsibilities for the bombing of oil facilities in the region and Tompolo had been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of corruption.

It is also believed that the ex-militant leader has connection with the Avengers group, even though he had disowned the group in previous statements.

According to the militant group, Tompolo has fled to Libya, but the former commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) refused to confirm or deny the allegation, he only advised the militant group to accept the amnesty offer of the Federal Government.

“I wish to once again write the members of the Niger Delta Avengers to embrace the federal government dialogue option as a way out of the brewing crisis in the Niger Delta region. As I have said before now, I do not know you and how to reach you except through the mass media, therefore it is high time you stopped the bombing and destruction of crude oil facilities in the Niger Delta region,” Tompolo said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Paul Bebenibo.

“One thing you guys may not be aware of is that, you have not only succeeded in militarising the Niger Delta region now, but also succeeded in given birth to so many negotiators and political jobbers within the government circle, who are very serious rumour peddlers in the country now.

“As for the people of Gbaramatu kingdom, they have not known peace since you guys started the bombing of oil facilities as they have been harassed, intimidated, violated and invaded on daily basis by the Nigerian Military under the guise of looking for members of your group (Niger Delta Avengers) and my humble self, who they have criminally and wickedly linked to the Niger Delta Avengers.

“Presently all communities in Gbaramatu kingdom have been disserted by residents for fear of a repeat of the 2009 military invasion, which still leave the communities in shambles. Even till now, the military has not returned the symbol of authority they took away from the Egbesu Shrine and other valuables in Oporoza community during the May 28, 2016 invasion.”

Tompolo stressed that neither him nor his close associates, who have also been wrongly linked to the Avengers, have connection to the group.

READ: 'I don't deserve this mental onslaught' - Tompolo writes Buhari

“Another dangerous dimension my traducers have introduced into this issue is the allegation that some of my closest men are coordinators of the Niger Delta Avengers. And this is currently trending in the social media that Benji Ekeremor, Super and Owomor aka VIP are the coordinators of the Avengers.

“The truth of the matter is that I can no longer endure these blackmails from my traducers, as I have seen that they are not resting in their oars, as they have vowed to implicate me by all means necessary. God forbid! To set the records straight, these are responsible men who had had skilled training under the Presidential Amnesty programme that are currently using their acquired skills to eke out a living.”he said.

According to him, the army's invasion of the Gbaramatu Kingdom is a clear case of oppression and intimidation of the "peace loving people," adding that even the volatile north-eastern, where Boko Haram has been killing innocent people, was not desecrated the way Gbaramatu was.

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