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FG persecuting, not prosecuting Tompolo —Rights groups

By Emma Amaize

WARRI—Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, FHRACC and Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, have accused the Federal Government of persecuting and not prosecuting the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

The groups said that the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, which renewed the bench warrant on Tompolo, Monday, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were acting out a script by the All Progressives Congress, APC-led government.

FHRACC, in a statement by its National President, Alaowei Cleric, said:  “Tompolo, like every other Nigerian, is not above the law but what the government is doing is more of persecution than the prosecution it is supposed to be doing. We condemn in its entirety the renewed order by the court to arrest him after his lawyer had pointed out to the court the legal blunders the prosecution made when it was applying for the bench warrant.

“The continued threat to arrest Tompolo by the Federal Government, even when he had indicated his willingness to appear in the court, in our view, has political undertone. The duty of a prosecutor is to see that justice is done in any given case and not the conviction of its assailant. Tompolo has shown willingness as a law-bidding citizen to appear in the court by engaging a Senior Advocate for his defence. We expect that the government at this time will relax its action and allow the normal cause of the proceedings to take its course,” the group said.

National president of IPDI, Austin Ozobo, said: “We want to unequivocally state that the court is already taking sides in the matter. The court ought not to assume the position of litigant. The court should be an unbiased umpire. The attitude of the court appears to be acting on a directive and such is not a known practice in law.”



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