Former militant leader Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo has made his first public appearance after hiding from security agencies for six years.
TNMN confirms that a video of the Ekpemupolo at the Egbesu shrine during a ceremony made rounds on Wednesday evening, even as stakeholders in the Oil and Gas/ Shipping Sectors are in panic over the security of their workers and offshore operations.
A 2020 report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) showed a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months with a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea, compared with the same period in 2019.
In rapid response to this development, the European Union (EU) few weeks ago approved a 320,000 euros grant to the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) for a research tracing piracy and armed robbery activities in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and NigerDelta to Organised Transnational Crimes.
TNMN however gathered that Tompolo’s appearance is in solidarity with the #EndSARS protesters.
Tompolo, who led the disbanded Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), went underground immediately President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in in 2015, as the Federal Government deployed troops to fish him out.
The government also declared him wanted through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for ignoring two bench warrants issued against him by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, following alleged N45.5billion fraud case.
But the court on July 15, 2019 dismissed the charges against Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, a company linked to the former Niger Delta militant leader.
Despite the judgment, Tompolo failed to appear in public until October 19, 2020, when sources said he made a sudden appearance at the Egbesu shrine in his Oporoza country home in Gbaramatu, Delta State.
A picture of his appearance showed the former warlord and his friends dancing, worshipping and offering thanksgiving to Egbesu, the Ijaw god.
An Egbesu disciple, Bodmas Kemepadei, who confirmed the development, said the appearance of Tompolo, who is the Egbesu priest, would help to facilitate resolutions of knotty issues in the Niger Delta.
Credit: The Nation & TNMN
Pix: The Nation