By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”AN Itsekiri youth leader andÂ member of Delta Waterways Security Committee (DWSC),Â Comrade, Comrade Omolubi Newuwumi, has described as criminal, frivolous andÂ false claim byÂ the Warri -Ijaw Peace Monitoring Group (WIPMG) that Itsekiri people were planning to assassinate Gbaramatu-born militant kingpin in Delta State, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
WIPMG Chairman, Chief Patrick Bigha, alleged recently that Itsekiri people were spying on Tompolo, with a view to eliminating him, but Omolubi said the Itsekiri nationality had always recognized the leadership roles played by Tompolo in the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta people, and as such, would be criminal to accuse the Itsekiri of trying to assassinate him.
Speaking to Vanguard in Warri, Newuwumi said the Itsekiri and Ijaw, as pioneers of the Niger Delta struggle, recognized that neither of the two tribes could wage the struggle alone but through unity and sense of purpose.
Omolubi stated that it was unthinkable for anybody to think that the Itsekiri would set upÂ Tompolo for the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta to apprehend him.
He added that Itsekiri , as an educated tribe, wasÂ fully aware of the amnesty programme, adding that even if he (Tompolo) were to be have been captured by anybody, â€œthe government cannot do him anything because he is covered by the amnesty package.
â€œAs far as the amnesty programme is concerned, Tompolo is not a wanted man, the amnesty covers him just like any other freedom fighter, so why do they think the Itsekiris are after him, even when the government did not say they are looking for him?Â Â So I see this as an attempt to foment trouble,â€ he asserted.
Newuwumi, however, admitted that there were patrol teams patrolling the waterways as stated by the WIPMG, but pointed out that the patrol teams were made up of Ijaw and Iteskiri members of the DWSC set up by the government.
According to him, â€œin the course of the exercise,Â both the Ijaws and Itsekiris have been assisting security agencies in making sure they achieved their purpose, so why are they now assuming that because one of the boats belong to an Itsekiri leader,Â it now means that we are assisting the Joint Task Force planning to kill Tompolo?â€