…Agitated oil thieves, collaborators fuelling media attack on Tompolo —Ijaw Group
By Emma Amaize & Henry Umoru
PRESIDENT of Ijaw National Congress, INC, has hammered out a ceasefire between leader of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and another militant leader, Asari Dokubo, who kicked against the pipeline surveillance contract the Federal Government awarded to Tompolo.
This came as Ijaw Patriotic League,IPL, has thrown its weight behind Federal Government for refusing to revoke the oil pipeline protection contract awarded to a company in which Tompolo has interest.
Dokubo, who heads the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front, NDPSF, caused a stir in a series of viral video, last week, when he lambasted Tompolo over the contract, daring him to step his foot on his Kalabari territory, Rivers State, with a stretch of 83-kilometre pipelines and see what would happen to him and his boys.
Speaking to Vanguard on the arrangement, INC president, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, said: “The relative calm, call it ceasefire, is obviously the product of our deliberate intervention and strategic engagement of not only the key actors but also of their media managers.
“It is true that Tompolo, Ateke, Dokubo and others made personal commitment to the lNC to stop further expression of anger, disappointment and misgivings, believing that the INC will objectively address the remote and immediate causes of the fracas.
“They also pledged to caution their respective managers, loyalists and supporters, especially the media teams, against issuance of inflammatory statements and videos against one another.
“We are determined to take some more audacious steps to put the entire crises surrounding the Tompolo pipeline surveillance contract behind us soonest.
“Congress is resolute in advising the ljaw nation not to allow these crumbs and any other form of inducement to destabilise us. We have greater challenges ahead. We do not have to compromise our unity, we cannot afford to succumb to divisive tendencies and antics orchestrated from within and elsewhere by those who enjoy holding us to perpetual captivity.
“Congress considers the prevailing circumstances as a litmus test of our capabilities to manage complex tempestuous situations as this. lt is a test of the leadership’s ability to handle and transform difficult impossibilities into successes and glorious testimonies,” he said.
Agitated oil thieves, collaborators fuelling media attack on Tompolo—Ijaw Group
National Coordinator of IPL, Jasper Eritei, noted that the decision of the Federal Government to engage Tompolo to assist in securing the nation’s outrageously violated pipelines was a well thought out decision and also in the public good.
He said: “We have watched with surprise and indeed consternation the attacks, deliberately put together to blackmail the Federal Government to cancel the pipeline surveillance and protection contract awarded to a firm in which Tompolo has interest.
“We believe that the Federal Government and indeed the NNPCL have acted positively to promote the common good by embarking on this deliberate master stroke of a step to counter the mindboggling theft of the nation’s disappearing resources.
“Logically, those feeding fat on odious money from stolen crude resources will not welcome the government’s action without a fight. It is expected that they will commit huge resources to sabotage it.
“It is on this basis that we call on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to be resolute and dismiss this call for cancellation of the contract awarded to Tompolo.
“We call on Tompolo to carry out his promise to reach out to various interest groups in the Niger Delta in the interest of a conducive atmosphere for the company’s critical operations.”