By Emma Amaize
ITSEKIRI leader and chair, Itsekiri Regional Devlopment Council, IRDC, Warri, Delta State, Chief Ayiri Emami, has said that he had no personal score to settle with former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo. Chief Emami, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on phone, said, “I must also note that no amount of blackmail by pockets of sponsored persons from Gbaramatu or threat to my life will intimidate me.”
The IRDC chair, who was reacting to the request by an Ijaw group to the Olu of Warri, HRM Ikenwoli I, to call him to order, asserted, “It amazes me how sometimes some group of persons make statements as if they have monopoly of violence, mistaking Nigeria to be a banana republic.” His words, “The President Muhammadu Buhari administration has shown the capacity to crush any form of insurrection, sabotage and lawlessness as experienced in the battle against Shii’tes , IPOB and Boko Haram. As what obtains anywhere in the world and even in Nigeria in the case of local vigilantes assisting the military with intelligence, I have every right to offer intelligence to the military whenever called upon.”
“Maybe those, who criticized my noble assistance to the military when the massive economic sabotage was carried out for three days through the bombing of vital crude and gas pipelines located in Itsekiri host communities, Warri South West Local Government Area, which led to the loss of 600 megawatts of electricity. “Shutting down of Kaduna as well as Port-Harcourt Refineries and the loss of billions of naira to our economy have forgotten that I was once the chairman of Delta Waterways Security Committee and current chairman of Chevron established Itsekiri Regional Development Committee, IRDC,” he said.
Emami stated, “Criminality has nothing to do with ethnic or personal interest and I do not need to be an appointee of the Federal or Delta State Government to contribute my quota to the fight against economic sabotage.” “I must stress that my position against bombing of pipelines will not cause any crisis between Ijaw and Itsekiri, so nobody should hide criminality under the guise of blackmailing Chief Ayirimi Emami.
“If persons perceived to be loyal to me were responsible for the recent bombing of pipelines, I am sure by now, it would have been exposed,” he added. The Itsekiri leader asserted: “Nigerians are now too wise to be deceived and I will not be deterred in my responsibility towards this great nation by contributing my quota towards protecting our national assets no matter the odds.”