Tompolo

Tompolo

High Chief,  Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tom-Polo is on the run from
Federal Government forces, who have accused him of aiding and
sponsoring the Niger Delta Avenges, the new militant  group alleged to
be behind the recent bombings of oil installation in the Niger Delta
region. Tom –Polo, who accused soldiers of attacking his aged  father, an
action which he alleged  led to his death last week, told our correspondent in an
exclusive electronics -mail interview over the weekend that he is been persecuted because certain selfish politicians and forces want to use him as a bait to get to former President, Goodluck Jonathan.
He also alleged that the Government, headed by President Muhammed
Buhari is clueless and that he may still go back to creeks in the
nearest future.
He also took a swipe at the judiciary for tying itself to the apron of the Federal Government and for frustrating his case against the government. 

Excepts;

  Is it true that your late father was man-handled by some security
personnel last year?

Yes. It happened on the early hours of Saturday May 28, 2016 when the
Nigerian Army under the guise of looking for members of the Niger
Delta Avengers and of course my humble self, who they have accused of
being behind the activities of the group without any evidence, invaded
Kurutie town, where my father, Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo was staying.
They ransacked the whole building and brutalized him. He sustained an
injury in one of his legs. We took him to Warri for medical attention
after one week of the incident due to difficulty in movement from the
village to Warri because of the activities of the Army, and he was
admitted at Lily Clinic, where thorough medical tests were conducted
on him.
The doctors later advised that his lower limb should be amputated
because complication has set in as a result of the injury. We agreed
to this and that was done.
However,  he later died in the clinic after two months.

 How do you feel about his death while you are now on the run?

It is a painful development as my father was unjustly killed by the
Army. I had debunked the accusation that I was behind the Niger Delta
Avengers at many occasions, therefore the action of the Army was
unwarranted.
I did not do any wrong by selling my property to the Federal
Government  through due process, something that was approved by the
Federal Executive Council.
Why do you think you are been hounded by the security forces?
I am just a victim of circumstances. I am just a perceived enemy
of the government. The intention of the government was to arrest
former president Goodluck Jonathan. But they feel that arresting
Jonathan without arresting me may be difficult, that was the reason
why they are after me.
What will be done about your father’s burial in your absence?
Other members of the family will plan the burial arrangement. However
the issue will be taken to the appropriate quarters to seek redress on
the gruesome murder of my father.

The people of your community are lamenting about your absence, due to your much-trumpeted philanthropy. Is there anyway you can still help them, especially in this recession period?

It is unfortunate that I am not around to continue to give helping
hand to my people as result of my persecution by this government.
Before this  time,I was doing what the government and multi-national
oil companies could not do for the people in the areas of education
and health care.
My foundation was providing a quality health care for the people in
Okerenkoko, where about 90 communities were accessing free health care
in surgical operations of any dimension.
For about three years while we operated the clinic, about 500 births
were recorded. But due to my persecution by this administration, we
shut down the medical facility. Even at that, we are still doing
something in the area of education.
We just awarded scholarships to seven first class graduates from the
Benson Idahosa University, Benin, to do their masters in any country
of their choice. I do all these to promote peace and usher in
development to the coastal areas, but the government and some wicked
and selfish individuals do not want that to happen.

How do you view the allegations that you are one of the sponsors of
the Niger Delta Avengers?
It is baseless and a wicked allegation. I have refuted the
allegation. Even the government knows that I am not a sponsor of the
Niger Delta Avengers. They are only looking for something to nail me.
But they have failed. Now Nigerians have seen the way the government
has run the economy aground because they are clueless, and only
chasing shadows. It is difficult to give what you do not have.

Why do you think the Niger Delta Avengers include your freedom as
one of the conditions to down their weapons?

I do not know about that, and it is not my problem. Maybe they feel
that if I am around, it will be easier to build the peace process
because so many of the boys have respect for me.
Can you still go back to the creek in future?
Why not? That is where I come from, and the whole of my life I have
stayed there. This is just a temporary setback as I prefer to stay in
the creek than any other place.
That was why I led the struggle for a better living condition for the
people so that in the shortest possible time, the creek is urbanized
so that the people will live like their counterparts in the urban
areas.

What kind of relief do you think the courts can offer you, now
that you have sued the Federal Government?

I was the first person to sue the government and the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because my company’s account was
restricted unjustly, but till now, the court has been playing funny,
as the court has refused to hear the matter, instead, it has been
adjourning the case at every sitting.
I pray that the Nigerian Judiciary should be independent, otherwise,
it is difficult for a perceived enemy of the government to get justice
and judgement.

What do you think about the present state of the amnesty programme ?

The amnesty programme has been politicized. The programme was to
create the enabling environment for the desired development of the
Niger Delta region. It was to be a means to an end, and not an end on
its own. The government should hand over the programme to stakeholders
to drive, it is only then that  the programme can achieve its desired
goals.