BY Emma Amaize
WARRI—COALITION of Ijaw Youth Leaders, COIL, has disagreed with the claim by former commander of defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, Victor Ebikabowei Victor, alias Boyloaf, that Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, was not the leader of the group.
COIL in a statement, by its chairman, Dr. Clarkson Aghagha and Coordinator, Mr Fredrick Afoegba, said: “We agree with Boyloaf that what we are experiencing in the Niger Delta is negative peace, but we disagree with him that ex-General Tompolo is not the leader of the defunct MEND.”
Meantime, a Niger-Delta activist and National President of Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, Mr Austin Ozobo, has said the controversy over the leadership of MEND was uncalled for; noting that what should concern the ex-militants was whether the Federal Government was keeping its side of the bargain that led to the amnesty programme.
COIL said: “Ex-General Tompolo is a leader and this had been affirmed by Ogbo leaders- apex body of Izon Youth Worldwide, IYC. Serving and retired generals from the three zones of the Izon nation all jointly conferred on ex-General Tompolo, the title of General Officer Commanding, GOC and that same body conferred on him a second title, ‘The Torchbearer of the Struggle.’
“Boyloaf’s comment was made because he is jealous and envious. Boyloaf should join forces with Tompolo to achieve the aspirations of the struggle, rather than waste energy on frivolous claim.”
On Boyloaf’s position that Tompolo was not in a position to take the struggle forward, as such matter was within the purview of Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, COIL said Boyloaf was being economical with the truth.
“The role Tompolo is playing by summoning all stakeholders to proffer solution to the programme does not contravene the work of the chairman of the Post Amnesty Programme, as he is working in consonance with the special adviser.”