Delta EPZ Project Crisis: Leave Jonathan Out Of This, Hold Uduaghan, Ibori Responsible, Tompolo Says

0
73

In an extensive statement released today, former Niger Delta militant Government Ekpemupolo, (alias Tompolo), blasted Lagos-based lawyer Festus Keyamo and other players in the recent $16 billion Export Processing Zone (EPZ) project crisis in Delta State.

In this newest installment of the fast-unfolding drama, Tompolo suggests that EPZ project is a front for sinister intent to seize lands belonging to people of the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri Local Government Area.  For this reason Tompolo asserts that the project should be postponed, and players like Keyamo investigated.“I stand on the side of my people as I have always done, to ensure that the voice of reason was raised and heard by the powers that be,” Tompolo states. “As a peace-loving Kingdom, the people of Gbaramatu had used all civil and legal means to ensure that justice was done by the federal government by not going ahead with the planned ground-breaking ceremony in the face of clear injustice, unfairness and inequity.

“I am not persuaded by the nebulous and loudly-echoed ‘economic and industrial gains’ slogan being orchestrated by some forces hiding under the EPZ Project to re-launch a back-door move for the acquisition of lands belonging to the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom.”

----- Download Omega News App -----

The struggle to postpone the project has been challenged by significant backlash from Keyamo and others from the Ugborodo community in Warri, who claim Tompolo has used techniques of harassment and coercion to achieve his aims. Keyamo further alleges that Tompolo has asserted that President Goodluck Jonathan will come to the aid of Tompolo and his supporters, purely because of “mundane sentiments”.

“Certain individuals from Gbaramatu Kingdom led by one High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo) – who also recently threatened to kill me – have ganged up to give your Excellency certain conditions upon which you can be allowed to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the Escravos Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Project located in Ugborodo,” Keyamo stated in a Novermber 12, 2014 letter to President Jonathan.

The letter and others before it have no received any public acknowledgment from either the President or security agencies, though the drama in Delta State has continued to escalate.

Following the reported kidnap and torture of seven persons and some journalists in Delta State by Tompolo supporters earlier this week, Keyamo implored the Director-General of State Security Service and the Inspector-General of Police to prosecute Tompolo.

“It is such a shame,” the human rights lawyer said in his Novermber 18 letter. “This unhealthy romance between government officials in high places and this individual raises strong suspicion over, perhaps, some criminal dalliance in relation to shady deals. I am confident that time will tell us better. There is no better way to see this. But I have decided that enough is enough.”

Charging back today, Tompolo rebuffed these allegations, stating that they arose from determined attempts to bring down the Gbaramatu people, a malicious practice engendered before President Jonathan assumed office.

“Many insinuations and perverted comments have been made by both interested and rented parties to the effect that ethnic colourations have been brought to the fore by linking the justifiable postponement of the ground-breaking to President Goodluck Jonathan’s ‘soft-spot’ for the Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom,” Tompolo said.

“It should be noted however, that the struggle of the people Gbaramatu Kingdom for both political and economic rights pre-dates the Jonathan Presidency. History is replete with courses of events as far as the struggle of the oppressed people of Gbaramatu Kingdom is concerned.”

Tompolo also claims that the blame for continued “calculated attempts by the government-backed Itsekiris to enslave the Gbaramatu Kingdom” rests heavily on the actions of current Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and former governor James Ibori.

“It is no longer news to all that our Itsekiri neighbours used all advantages of being in government and power since the time of former governor, Chief James Ibori (whose mother is Itsekiri) as well as the incumbent governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (also an Itsekiri), both as commissioner and later Secretary to State Government under Ibori.

Tompolo also devoted a section of his statement to Lagos-lawyer Keyamo, claiming the attorney was in fact playing a “rented role” in an “orchestrated crisis”.

“Before now, I had seen Keyamo as a young promising lawyer whose passion to fight oppression was unquenchable. I see him as a brother and friend because there is still time for him to stratify rented and commercialized struggle from passionate human and civil rights crusade.

“Keyamo’s continuous linkage with me to purported attempts close crime is unacceptable to me. At best, Keyamo knows too well that those whose flair for injustice I fight against, those who have been severally linked to murders in Delta State who today are his latter-day friends, are not men of conscience.

“As a human rights lawyer (as claimed by Keyamo), his efforts to unearth the killers of Onokpite Ogbe were applauded by many, including me. I was even tempted to disbelieve others when accusations of ‘unpalatable practices’ trailed Keyamo’s sudden u-turn to abandon the Onokpite’s case. But today, I have no reason to disbelieve such against the backdrop of Keyamo’s role in the orchestrated EPZ Crisis.

“In the face of Keyamo’s sudden u-turn in character, it is absurd to ask him if would have not have done what I did on behalf of my people should he find himself in my shoes. I therefore find very curious Keyamo’s attempt to demonize me especially when it is obvious that since I willingly embraced the Federal Government Amnesty offer, I have selflessly, at high risks too, contributed to the enhancement of peace and security in the entire Niger-Delta Region.

“I will therefore urge Keyamo to be on the side of truth and justice rather than being on the side of injustice because conscience is an open wound, only the truth can heal it.

Tompolo concludes his statement by encouraging Keyamo and others to leave President Jonathan out of what he calls a “blackmail game”.

“Those who deliberately drag the name of President Jonathan into this blackmail game are doing this to perpetuate injustice,” he said. “This is the crux of the matter.”

Tompolo also promised he would continue the fight as a matter of conscience.

“The Gabramatu people cannot be intimidated by any resort to blackmail, using ethnic cards. I will not succumb to any cheap blackmail aimed at weakening my resolve to fight for my people because this is a matter of conscience and posterity.

“I shall not waiver even in the face of threat and intimidation of all sorts until justice is done,” he concluded.

Read the full statement below.

RE: DELTA EPZ AND MATTERS ARISING

MY TAKE IS ON JUSTICE, EQUITY AND FAIRNESS

So much has been said about the $16 Billion Export Processing Zone (EPZ) which is meant to galvanize Nigeria’s economic growth through adequate gas processing and supply, using our dear Delta State as the hub. For one, I am happy as a Deltan that this laudable project is being planned and nurtured in my time, especially on the heels of our fight for the need by government to industrialize and enhance our economic well-being in the oil-rich Niger Delta Region.

Nonetheless, I am not persuaded by the nebulous and loudly-echoed ‘economic and industrial gains’ slogan being orchestrated by some forces hiding under the EPZ Project to re-launch a back-door move for the acquisition of lands belonging to the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. In this regard, I stand on the side of my people as I have always done, to ensure that the voice of reason was raised and heard by the powers that be. As a peace-loving Kingdom, the people of Gbaramatu had used all civil and legal means to ensure that justice was done by the federal government by not going ahead with the planned ground-breaking ceremony in the face of clear injustice, unfairness and inequity.

As a result, many insinuations and perverted comments have been made by both interested and rented parties to the effect that ethnic colourations have been brought to the fore by linking the justifiable postponement of the ground-breaking to President Goodluck Jonathan’s ‘soft-spot’ for the Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom.

It should be noted however, that the struggle of the people Gbaramatu Kingdom for both political and economic rights pre-dates the Jonathan Presidency. History is replete with courses of events as far as the struggle of the oppressed people of Gbaramatu Kingdom is concerned. It is no longer news to all that our Itsekiri neighbours, using all advantages of being in government and power since the time of former governor, Chief James Ibori(whose mother is Itsekiri) as well as the incumbent governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan(also an Itsekiri) who both as commissioner and later Secretary to State Government under Ibori, cannot insulate himself from the calculated attempt by the government-backed Itsekiri’s attempts to enslave Gbaramatu Kingdom.

It should therefore be placed on record that if the belief of the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in their just and fair struggle saw them through thick and thin since the time of Ibori till date, the same spirit still lives on; and such does not need the ‘soft spot’ of a Nigerian President of Ijaw extraction to take the people to their rightful place. It was (still) this belief in a just and fair struggle that in spite of glaring attempts by both Ibori (then) and Uduaughan (now) to exterminate the Gbaramatu Kingdom to the advantage of their kinsmen, I made conscious efforts to respect the institution they represent. In essence, I refrained from abusing their persons as some Itsekiri leaders have mindlessly done in the case of the postponement of the ground-breaking ceremony by the President.

Perhaps, it is unfortunate to note that all those Itsekiri leaders, especially Pa J.O. Ayomike who betrayed uncontrollable and misplaced sentiments by abusing the person of the president and calling for his resignation would have achieved better things and indeed, much development would have come to their impoverished Itsekiri villages if such energy was deployed to ginger their son, who is now governor, to bring development to their areas. The Ayomikes of this world should rather be expressing worry and bury their heads in shame that the over 12 years of their sons in government and power in Delta State are more of curses than blessings to their people. The case of those vilifying President Jonathan is that of bottled-up anger and transferred aggression ordinarily targeted at those who looked the other way in the face of the sufferings of their people to a man who tried to do justice by listening to all sides of an issue.

What Does Festus Keyamo Want?

This question has become imperative in view of the rented roles the Lagos-based Lawyer has played in the last couple of weeks in the affairs of the state especially as they relate to the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. Before now, I had seen Keyamo as a young promising lawyer whose passion to fight oppression was unquenchable. I see him as a brother and friend because there is still time for him to stratify rented and commercialized struggle from passionate human and civil rights crusade.

As a matter of fact, Keyamo’s continuous linkage with me to purported attempts close crime is unacceptable to me. At best, Keyamo knows too well that those whose flair for injustice I fight against, those who have been severally linked to murders in Delta State who today are his latter-day friends, are not men of conscience. As a human rights lawyer (as claimed by Keyamo), his efforts to unearth the killers of Onokpite Ogbe were applauded by many, including me. I was even tempted to disbelieve others when accusations of ‘unpalatable practices’ trailed Keyamo’s sudden u-turn to abandon the Onokpite’s case. But today, I have no reason to disbelieve such against the backdrop of Keyamo’s role in the orchestrated EPZ Crisis. In the face of Keyamo’s sudden u-turn in character, it is absurd to ask him if would have not have done what I did on behalf of my people should he find himself in my shoes. I therefore find very curious Keyamo’s attempt to demonize me especially when it is obvious that since I willingly embraced the Federal Government Amnesty offer, I have selflessly, at high risks too, contributed to the enhancement of peace and security in the entire Niger-Delta Region. I will therefore urge Keyamo to be on the side of truth and justice rather than being on the side of injustice because conscience is an open wound, only the truth can heal it.

Conclusion:

My appeal to all men of conscience is to ensure that justice and fairness are made the cornerstone of human existence. Where these do not exist, it will be difficult for society to make progress. The case of the plight of the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta is clear and unambiguous. The precepts for injustice and ingredients of inequality are daily being planted by those who find themselves in positions of authority and influence, especially in Delta State.

It should therefore be known that those who deliberately drag the name of President Jonathan into this blackmail game are doing this to perpetuate injustice. This is the crux of the matter. But little do they know that the struggle has been an age-long one, predating the president’s ascendancy to office and through the will of God, my people have been forging ahead. In the same vein, the struggle might also post-date President Jonathan unless the issues of injustice that have continually set the Gbaramatu and Itsekiri ethnic nationalities against each are permanently resolved. The Gabramatu people cannot be intimidated by any resort to blackmail, using ethnic cards. Similarly, I will not succumb to any cheap blackmail aimed at weakening my resolve to fight for my people because this is a matter of conscience and posterity. I shall not waiver even in the face of threat and intimidation of all sorts until justice is done.

Thanks and God bless,

SIGNED:

HIGH CHIEF GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO. Source of Story: Sahara Reporters.