N45.9bn Nimasa Scam: Rep Raises Alarm Over Military Presence In Ijaw Communities
BEVERLY HILLS, February 18, (THEWILL) – Julius Pondi, a member of House of Representatives, on Thursday, expressed concern over the heavy military presence in his constituency, in the bid to arrest Government Ekpemupolo (otherwise known as Tompolo), a former leader of the Niger Delta militants.
This comes as Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police (IGP), issued a warrant of arrest on Ekpemupolo, on Wedneesday, based on an earlier wanted declaration by the EFCC in connection with a N45.9 billion fraud in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Pondi, who spoke during the 2015 budget performance and 2016 budget defence of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), specifically expressed regret over the abuse of human rights which occurred during the invasion of innocent homes in Ijaw communities by the previous administrations, which led to the death of several innocent people.
“In 1999, it was under the command of Obasanjo; in 2009, it was under the command of President Yar’Adua and in 2010 it was under Goodluck Jonathan. Now, we are beginning to wonder if it is a tradition in Nigeria that every civilian government would invade one Ijaw community in the Niger Delta,” he said.
“Because, as it appears now, this is under Buhari’s government and we’re on the verge of being bombarded again. What are the penalties for past culprits, so such an act would not be repeated?”
In a swift reaction, Bem Angwe, Executive Secretary, NHRC, assured that the commission had initiated a meeting with the service chiefs in the bid to avoid abuse of human rights.
“We are not even going to wait and see what will happen against your people under this regime. We are going to intervene immediately,” he promised.
“Let me give you my word, now that the magnitude of that issue has been brought to our attention, by tomorrow (yesterday) I’m going to meet with the heads of the military in Nigeria to prevent what happened in Odi and other places.
“One person should be taken anywhere that person is, if the person is in conflict with the law. That is our stand. We will not allow an entire community to suffer for the alleged crime of one person. That is what our stand is going to be.”
Story by David Oputah