By Emma Amaize
WARRI—A Niger Delta youth leader, Azaiyi Piniki, has said that the desperation by the Federal Government to arrest ex-militant leader and arrowhead of the Niger Delta struggle, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, at all cost will turn out to be counterproductive in the long run.
Piniki, in a statement, said that Tompolo’s persecution baffles the people who know his patriotic role in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State.
He said: “The consistent harassment and intimidation of Tompolo will be counter- productive and I advise the Federal Government to see dialogue as a better option, rather than employing military might that has today raised tension in the Niger Delta.”
The youth leader said that the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom already understand that the purported scrapping of the Nigerian Maritime University project proposed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, was politically motivated.
He said that the cancellation amounts to denying the people of the area their right to development, adding that the terrain was part of the country and produces “reasonable income for Nigeria.”
He said: “The university will provide jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians and further stem the tide of youth restiveness in the riverine communities that has been without any form of tertiary institution. So, why are they cancelling it?
“I think the Federal Government should stop playing politics with development, as every part of country deserves government’s attention and development. Before government came out with the decision, the Minister of transportation should have visited the site for on–the- spot assessment of work done.
“He cannot sit in Abuja and cancel a project of such magnitude, which is capable of lifting the economy of the area, and raise the standard of living of the people.”