By Emma Amaize
PRESIDENT of Ijaw National Congress, INC, umbrella socio-cultural group of Ijaw ethnic nationality, Prof Benjamin Okaba, has met separately with three top ex-militant leaders in the Niger -Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, HRH Ateke Tom of Okirika Kingdom and Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.
Vanguard learnt the visit was to forge peace and unity in Ijaw nation, following the outburst of leader of Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front, NDPSF, Dokubo-Asari, over the pipeline surveillance contract, which the Federal Government awarded, last month, to some contractors, including Tompolo, and other related issues.
Prof Okaba reportedly met with Tompolo, leader of the moribund Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, who briefed him and answered questions on the pipeline surveillance contract in Oporoza, Delta state.
The INC had earlier set up a committee to look into the cause of disagreement over the pipeline surveillance contract and proffer a solution. The committee, which also met with protesting ex-militants and their leaders has submitted its report.
National chairman, NDPSF, Mayor Hart, confirmed the visit of INC to Dokubo-Asari and King Ateke , but debunked the claim that the NDPSF leader, Dokubo- Asari visited Tompolo, earlier in the week, at Oporoza, Delta state
Dokubo-Asari, who queried the propriety of Tompolo guarding the 83 kilometres of pipelines in his Kalabari territory, Rivers state, had vowed not to visit the defunct MEND leader in Oporoza.
Hart, in a statement with two others, Thursday evening, said: “The attention of the leadership of NDPSF has been drawn to some deliberate falsehood and calculated cheap propaganda aimed to mislead and misinform the general public with respect to the whereabouts of our leader, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo Asari, the Alabo Edi- Abali of the kingdom of Kalabari by some social media rascals, who through mischief and falsehood want to be acknowledged and gain access to their sponsors.”
“We are very much aware that the said post making the rounds that Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo -Asari is at Oporoza is determined to undermine and derogate his person and unfortunately persons whom we think should debunk this cacophony of falsehood, have allowed the false narrative to fester without a deserving response to decollate the intentional insult suggestive that this mischievous construing enjoys their patronage.
“May we inform the general public that we are with Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo -Asari in his house at Obuama and at no time was he in Oporoza this morning nor yesterday.
“It will interest us to know that just this morning here at Obuama, the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) ably led by its respected President, Prof Benjamin Okaba visited and had fruitful discussions with our leader, prior to this visit, he has also met with His Royal Highness Ateke Michael Tom, all in his efforts to douse tension and not heat up the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta region with respect to the pipeline surveillance contract issues.
“We are aware of the committee set up by the INC to look into the issue, whilst we await the outcome of the committee report, we advise our brother Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, to call his E – rats to order so as not to heat the polity in Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta region.
“It is imperative to state that allowing these drummers of mischief to continue their macabre dance in the social media space at a time all hands should be on deck to ensure peace in the region will be blamed on the handlers of our brother, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, whom may be seen as the agent provocateurs.
“It is our admonition that those who are fanning the embers of media war should be immediately called to order as we would not like to be drawn into an arena that we know too well to engage in.
“Peace in the Niger Delta region is what we seek and not war, let our brothers on every side work for this common good, the time to act is now, ” NDPSF said.