FORMER militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop harassment of his family members and relations allegedly by the military and other security agencies.
Tompolo, in a letter addressed to the president and made available to Saturday Tribune, on Friday, in Abuja, said that he had endured attacks on his immediate family, associates and aides following the decision of the army and other security agencies to launch a manhunt for him.
The ‘retired’ militant said that he was alarmed recently when the military raided Kurutie town in the Niger Delta in search of his 84-year-old father who, he said, had his leg amputated after being brutalised.
He equally narrated how other persons, including students writing their final examinations, were brutalised in the course of the search for him.
“We managed to rescue him, took 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 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 it 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,” Tompolo wrote.
He insisted that his case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would not drag him into violence, as according to him, he has a good case against the anti-graft commission.
“I have said it on many occasions that the issue I am having with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not lead me into violence or make me resort to destruction of pipelines and other oil facilities, because I have a good case,” he said.
He also accused the government of using some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to intimidate his family members and aides, adding that he was in a better position to help the country realise its objectives in the Niger Delta than many of those allegedly being used to “persecute” him.
“The latest victims of this unwarranted, misdirected and wicked act are Hon. Simeon Bebenimibo, a member of the Delta State Waterways 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 aides 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.”
In the letter titled: “The Continuous Harassment of My Family Members and Close Associates by Security Agents and Overzealous APC Members is Worrisome,” Tompolo said this might be his last open letter to Buhari on this matter.
“Your Excellency, sir, it could be recalled that this was how the military went to Oporoza town on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at about 2.00 a.m. and held the community hostage for one week. During that midnight invasion, the military carted 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 are unknown. That same day, the military went to Kurutie town in search of my 84 years old father and brutalised 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 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 on many occasions that the issue I am having with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not lead [me] into violence or [make me] 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 travail at your instance and I wish to ask whether this is part of the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Or was it because I supported my kinsman, former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general election? I thought everyone in Nigeria had the liberty to support whomever 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 swearing-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 Macarbre dance is being declared by you or it is out of their volition they perpetrate this high level of hatred on my person and close associates. It has really gotten to a worrisome dimension as the situation is deteriorating 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 takeoff of the university. And it all went through due process. I never knew my goodwill and patriotism would 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 13 billion 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 stands 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 who sincerely love you.”