Ex-militant Leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo has denied media reports that he failed to respond to an invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement on Saturday, Tompolo refuted reports of his invitation by the EFCC, alleging that he was only being witch-hunted because he bluntly refused to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as to support their Governorship candidate in Bayelsa Stat.
Recall that on Thursday, the EFCC had given the former Niger Delta militant leader, one week to appear before the Commission on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos or risk being declared wanted.
In a letter from the EFCC, the Commission says it is investigating Tompolo for unclear dealings involving the sale of parcels of land worth about 13 billion naira to the federal government under the last administration.
He is expected to appear at the EFCC training room on Thursday, December 17.
But in his statement today, Tompolo said: “On the November 24th 2015, I was informed at about 4 p.m. that a letter of invitation had been dropped at my home in Warri, inviting me to EFCC’s office in Lagos by 10 a.m. on the 25th of November 2015. I responded by a letter from my Solicitors, Messrs. Jakpa, Edoge & Co. The letter dated November 25th 2015 was received by one Uduak Ouot, a staff of EFCC, on the 3rd of December 2015, after several attempts to deliver. I have proof of delivery from the courier company.”
Mr. Ekpemupolo said he was surprised that the EFCC, which he described as “an otherwise reputable institution,” lied to Nigerians. He added that his lawyer’s letter “indicated I am already in court with the EFCC in Suit No: FHC/W/CS/152/2015. EFCC had been served with the court processes since 20th of October 2015 but they refused to attend court on several occasions, or to file any court papers, only to appear for the first time on 30th November 2015 without filing any court papers. They even asked for the matter to be adjourned to 17th December 2015, the date they are now inviting me to appear before them.”
He stated that the anti-corruption agency invited him two months after he had sued them. He said he had informed the EFCC of his readiness to honor their invitation once the court rules on his own suit, adding that the agency seemed bent on harassing him through their “reminder of 9th December 2015, which was leaked to the media on the 10th of December 2015, the same day as it was delivered to my house in Warri.”
Mr. Ekpemupolo stated, “As a full blooded Ijaw man and citizen of Nigeria, I have done everything in my power to follow the laws of Nigeria. Since the amnesty declared in 2009 by [the] late President Yar’Adua I have strained myself to ensure that we all live in peace in this country. Those who think they can push us to war must rethink the necessity of such a war.
“How can a law-abiding Government declare a man wanted who is in the law courts with them?
“They froze our business accounts since August 4th 2015, but we have not quarreled with anybody. We sued them to court, they refused to come to court. Now they are threatening to declare me wanted.
“I know why they are after me. It is not the alleged multi-billion naira property transaction. After all, it went through due process and was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). And as such if there are any questions to answer, it is the people at the FEC, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Federal Ministry of Lands and Survey, Federal Ministry of Transport, NIMASA, etc who approved the transaction that should be answering such questions.
“The real reason this All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Government is after me is that I bluntly refused to join APC and to support their Governorship candidate in Bayelsa State. We cannot all be in APC. Our people have always believed in the Nigerian project and had always hoped to join hands with this administration to move this project forward, but the conditions being attached are not acceptable. I insist on believing in the Nigerian project unconditionally!
“We will continue to pursue our court case. The threat to declare me wanted is an unnecessary attempt to heat up the polity. I will go about my daily business, [as] usual.
“Finally, let me say this: if people can come from Sokoto, Katsina or Lagos to campaign in Bayelsa, why can’t I, a full-blooded Ijaw man, go to my Bayelsa to campaign? I will only add this: let the will of the people of Bayelsa prevail. Nobody should attempt to force the outcome of the election. We have kept faith with our promise to Nigeria, we expect no less from this country. So if anyone tells you that Tompolo is on the run, tell him Tompolo is not going anywhere.”