General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) has been called upon by a group of former Federal legislators from the South-south on Wednesday, January 27, to surrender to the Federal Government and face the charges against him in court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it has a case against the former militant leader.
However, Tompolo has gone into hiding as the bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines increased in the region.
The group, Coalition of South-south Emeritus Legislators, urged those aggrieved in the region to embrace peace and channel their grievances through the Amnesty Office.
The 11 former lawmakers of the House of Representatives addressed reporters in Abuja.
The members of the group are: Samson Osagie (Edo), Abubakar Momoh (Edo), Mike Ekpegule (Bayelsa), Patty Etete Ineme (Akwa Ibom).
Others are: Christopher Enai (Bayelsa), Ehiogie West Idahosa (Edo), Alex Ukam (Cross River), Promise Abibo (Rivers) and Ikperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom).
Mercy Almona-Isei (Delta) said: “Already, the Federal Government has instituted an agency as a window of opportunity for all aggrieved people from that region to ventilate their grievances in any way; that is the Office of the Amnesty Programme.
“…That office has been engaging the people of the region. Some have benefited from one form of training or the other. If anything has arisen that would create this type of confusion or anger among the people, we expect that we should use that platform to get back whatever they feel they are denied of.”
On Tompolo, she said: “Against that background, we are calling on our own son, our brother, who is being called by the government to come and answer any question. He should come out as a gentleman and as a true son of Niger Delta.
“He should come out and give his side of the story. We all know that nobody is presumed guilty until proven so. So, I think rather than pull down the trees in the region because of one person, we believe that he should be man enough. He should be a patriot that he is; he should be nationalistic and come out to answer to whatever he is being accused of.
“For those who are going to destroy our national assets, we believe they shouldn’t allow anybody to misguide them, mislead them. They should channel their grievances to the Amnesty Office.”
Reading the position of the group, Halims Agoda (Delta) noted that the former lawmakers were saddened by the recent happenings in the region.
He said: “We are saddened by the news of the recent bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines in parts of Niger Delta.
“While condemning the renewed vandalisation of oil and gas facilities in the zone, we use this medium to call on persons – severally or individually or group – involved in these acts to desist forthwith.”
“It is our belief that the only productive means to actualising or redressing perceived injustice, inequality or unfair deals, is through dialogue. It has worked before and it remains the only sure way to consensus building, the sine qua non for the much needed development of the region.