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Niger Delta boils again: Militants bomb Escravos gas pipeline



A gas pipeline in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State conveying gas from Escravos–Warri-Lagos-Abuja, property of the Nigeria Gas Company, NGC, was blown up Thursday night in what is believed to be a resumption of militancy in the Niger Delta region.

On Thursday, Niger Delta ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, issued a bench warrant for his arrest, same day, raised the alarm that some persons were planning to bomb crude oil facilities and pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta and attribute the havoc to him.

Elombah.com had reported that a Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday issued an arrest warrant against former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo for alleged disobedience to its order.

The Lagos court had summoned Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, to unconditionally appear yesterday to answer to a 40-count charge bordering on an alleged N13 billion fraud levelled against him by the EFCC. While all his co-accused, including a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, were present in court, Tompolo failed to appear.

The 40-count charge include the conversion of N601, 516.13 and $1, 766, 428.62, property of NIMASA, into private concerns; conversion of NIMASA’s N27,690,113.79 and $17, 491, 378.64, as well as N27, 690,113.79 and $17, 491, 378.64, belonging to the agency to personal use. The prosecutor claims the offence is contrary to section 15 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

A riverside dweller told Vanguard newspaper on phone from one of the Ijaw communities, said, “We slept with our eyes open throughout the night as bombs boomed everywhere, the attackers were exploding bombs and shooting guns indiscriminately.”

His words, “They blew up the gas pipeline from Escravos to Warri – Lagos and Abuja at three different points. They struck at Opudebubor, Okpelama and Kpokpo area, Chanomi creek and Sahara, behind Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL.”

“We do not know what is going to happen next, but there is tension since last night over the bombing and many residents are afraid that it will continue. Some are already fleeing their communities because they suspect that government would deploy security agents to hunt for those bombing the pipelines and they do not want to be caught in the ensuing crossfire.”

Raising an alarm on Thursday, Niger Delta ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo cited those allegedly dissatisfied with the re-election of Governor Henry Seriake-Dickson fo Bayelsa state and urged them to desist from plan.

“I want to admonish those that are still aggrieved as a result of the outcome of the election not to resort to destruction of national assets, especially crude oil facilities and pipelines and attribute it to me because of my position on the election,” he said.

He asserted that destroying crude oil facilities would not do the country any good and urged them “to support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to succeed.”

Tompolo alluded that he was being persecuted for refusing to support the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, in the Bayelsa election.

Contacted Friday morning, chair, Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, Chief Boro Opudu, said, “I am hearing rumour about such incident but I have not confirmed what happened. I cannot, therefore, speak on the matter until I have my facts.”

Elombah.com recalls that Tompolo last year failed to honour the invitation by EFCC twice despite the commission’s threat to declare him wanted. He was summoned for questioning over a N13 billion fraud allegation that relates to the land acquired for the establishment of Maritime University in Okerenkoko of Delta State. But he failed to honour the invitation; and the anti graft commission, did not declare him wanted as threatened. The said amount was allegedly paid to Tompolo by NIMASA under the tenure of Akpobolokemi.


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