Former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, has been urged to surrender himself for trial over alleged multi-billion naira fraud charges brought against him and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
A group of former federal legislators from the South-south geopolitical zone, which made the call on Wednesday, urged the former leader of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to come out of hiding.
The group opined that his surrender will douse tension and build-up of military forces in the Niger Delta following the bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines by suspected militants.
It would be recalled that the resurgence of bombings of oil and gas installations in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State coincided with the warrant of arrest issued on Tompolo by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State over a week ago.
The Coalition of South-south Emeritus Legislators also called on aggrieved persons in the Niger Delta to embrace peace and channel their grievances through the appropriate channel rather than incur the wrath of the Federal Government by resorting to acts of violence.
The group, comprising 11 former members of the House of Representatives across the south south states, namely: Rt. Hon. Halims Agoda (Delta State), Hon. Mercy Almona-Isei (Delta), Hon. Samson Osagie (Edo), Abubakar Momoh (Edo), Hon. Mike Ekpegule (Bayelsa), Hon. Patty Etete Ineme (Akwa Ibom), Hon. Christopher Enai (Bayelsa), Hon. Ehiogie West Idahosa (Edo), Hon. Alex Ukam (Cross River), Hon. Promise Abibo (Rivers), and Hon. Ikperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom), briefed journalists in Abuja.
The group said: “Already the federal government has instituted an agency as a window of opportunity for all aggrieved people from that region to come and ventilate their grievances in any way and that is the office of the amnesty programme.
“And already that particular office has been engaging the people from this region. Some have benefited from one form of training or the other.
“And if anything has arisen that will create this type of confusion or anger within the people, we expect that we should use that platform to get back whatever they feel they are denied of.”
On Tompolo, the group said: “…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 the Niger Delta region.
“He should come out and give his own part of the story. We all know that nobody is presumed guilty until you are proven so. So I think rather than pull down the trees in the whole 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”.
They also had a message for those destroying national assets in the Niger Delta.
“For those who are going to destroy our national assets, we believe that they shouldn’t allow anybody to misguide them, mislead them and they should all channel their grievances to the amnesty office”.