Soldiers storm Gbaramatu in search of Niger Delta Avengers …I've done nothing to warrant this mental onslaught – Tompolo writes Buhari
Soldiers invaded Oporoza community, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State and home base of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, at the early hours of Monday, in two gunboats in search of members of Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group bombing oil installations in the state.
The military men, who came at about 12.30 am while the people were asleep laid siege at the community until about 5.00 am when they departed.
A source said the army reportedly acted on intelligence information that the militants had secretly converged on the community.
However, the Pere (traditional ruler) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadaba, who was scared stiff with his subjects during the invasion, offered, Monday, to mediate in the face-off between the Federal Government and Tompolo despite his dissatisfaction with the neglect of the kingdom by government.
But the rampaging Niger-Delta Avengers, which earlier claimed that it had no link with Tompolo and in fact, issued him a three-day ultimatum for denouncing the group, remained unperturbed, as it was gathered that it had concluded plans to extend its attacks to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
A source said leaders of the militant group reviewed their operations at the weekend and were satisfied that group was able to effortlessly cripple oil operations in Delta state and was willing to continue with the bombings if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to address their demands.
Meanwhile, former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, Monday, told President Muhammadu Buhari that he had not done anything to warrant the needless mental onslaught that has been unleashed against him since Buhari assumed power.
In an open letter to the President, made available to Vanguard, he urged him not to judge him by the wicked things his (Tompolo) traducers say about him, but by his deeds and activities, adding that some persons were desperate to demonize him and give ethnic hue to Niger Delta issues for flimsy and egotistical reasons.
Tompolo, who recalled his meeting with the President, last year, and the advice he gave him on how to maintain peace in the region, asserted that ethno-political merchants were laying the foundation for crisis in the Niger Delta region.
His words: 'I make bold to say that there are several APC elements within and around your government who see anything Ijaw as criminal and anti-Buhari. Unpretentiously too, certain non-Ijaw ethnic merchants cum bigots have expressly displayed open hatred for Ijaws in the Niger Delta region.'
'Such persons have almost succeeded in warping a governmental mind-set against Ijaws, whether in or outside your government. Please, Mr President, this very dangerous dimension is avoidable by your government.
'They will be happy to see a ravaged Gbaramatu Kingdom and by extension, Ijaw land under the pretext of looking for me. This is a very dangerous template such persons are laying and it is only good for Mr President to deploy the inner mind to stratify this unwholesome gimmick,' he stated.
On his support for former President Goodluck Jonathan, he said: Just as your people supported you as of right, throughout the presidential campaigns, â€ŽI do not think it was criminal for me to openly support one of my own, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the presidency in 2015. I did so out of conviction not because I hate you or because you are a northerner.'
'After all, most of my personal friends and acquaintances are from the north. To cap it all, the memories of my robust relationship with your Katsina brother, the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua are still painfully fresh and reminiscent of brotherliness,' he added. - Vanguard.