Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo is one of the top socio-economic monsters, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan created and bequeathed to President Muhammadu Buhari. Tompolo is said to collect N1.5 billion monthly from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
It was Dr Ahmed Tijani Ramalan, pioneer NIMASA Chairman who spilled the beans in an exclusive chat with the LEADERSHIP newspaper, saying the agency pays the sum of N1.5bn monthly to the ex-militant leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) to protect the nation’s maritime areas. A Tompolo made superior to the Nigerian Naval Command?
According to the paper, all efforts to get Tompolo’s side of the story on June 2 failed. Tompolo’s spokesman, Paul Bebenimibo simply text back on phone: “I will get across to my boss” but never did till midnight.
However, Tompolo has denied receiving N1.5 billion monthly from NIMASA. Speaking through Bebenimibo yesterday, stated: “My attention has been drawn to a publication in the Leadership newspaper of Wednesday June 3, 2015. In the said publication, one Ahmed Tijani Ramalan made very wild, unsubstantiated allegations against my person that NIMASA pays me the sum of N1.5 billion monthly for the protection of the nation’s maritime domain.
“Without any further stress, it is obvious that the said Ramalan is merely seeking an undue attention. And whatever that attention is. I make bold to say Ramalan who claims to be the pioneer chairman of NIMASA is not just economical with the truth but his outburst is an exhibition of ignorance and mischief which should be ignored by all.
“Ramalan’s contraption of any sum being paid to me is therefore rubbish, malicious, unsubstantiated and display of ignorance. I can only pity such a man whose intention is perhaps to rubbish my name and needlessly drag me into the fray of disputes at a time the new government of President Muhammadu Buhari is barely one week in office.”
It is Tompolo’s word against Ramalan’s. NIMASA and the Nigerian Naval Command must speak out. Nigerians must know the truth. Why did Tompolo buy some second hand Norwegian warship if not to service this Jonathan-approved contract? Tompolo’s denial was for N1.5 billion. He didn’t deny signing a contract to protect Nigeria’s seaways and didn’t say he doesn’t collect any amount from NIMASA.
So how much does Tompolo collect from NIMASA and for what? What licence did Jonathan’s government sign to Tompolo for him as an individual to own and operate a warship?
Ramalan had lamented that despite such gesture, the country still loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the nation’s shores. The former NIMASA chairman, who revealed this to LEADERSHIP in an interview in Kaduna, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel the contract given to the ex-militant by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
WHO IS TOMPOLO?
Late President Umaru Yarádua, Jonathan and the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Uduaghan all legitimized Tompolo.
Government Ekpemupolo was born in 1971 to a royal family Okerenoko in the traditional Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State. Ekpemupolo had his basic education at Okepopo Primary School in Warri. In 1993 Ekpemupolo dropped out of college and joined a resistance group in the Niger Delta. In 1998 Ekpemupolo joined the newly formed Ijaw Youth Council and became a well respected member.
Ekpemupolo was granted full amnesty as well as all of his men when he embraced the amnesty offer on the Federal Government of Nigeria under president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on June 27, 2009. He was a high-ranking and well-respected commander in various guerrilla groups in the Niger Delta which were all agitating against the insensitivity of the Federal Government and the international oil companies towards to exploitation and degradation of the Niger Delta.
His Wikipedia profile says that He is currently helping the government in tracking down bad eggs in the region who were taking advantage of the struggle to perpetuate heinous crimes in the region.