• Maeks dather’s one year remembrance
I, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo – the Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation, remember my father as always, who was killed by the Nigerian Army as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government of Nigeria, on September 7, 2016.
I have been marked as state enemy number one by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime because of my natural and open association with my kinsman and former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in addition my support for Governor Seriake Dickson in the 2016 Bayelsa State Gubernatorial election presumed as against the anointed APC candidate of the Federal Government, Chief Timipre Sylver. It would be recalled that in the wake of the renewed hostilities and destruction of crude oil facilities by unknown persons in the Niger Delta region last year, the powers that be now found an ample opportunity to frame me on trumped up accusations and charges, subsequently I was falsely and maliciously accused by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the brain behind the then unrest. In furtherance of my persecution, I was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of fraudulently selling a stretch of land to the government for 13billon naira.
In an orchestrated plot the Nigerian Army was unleashed on Gbaramatu Kingdom in search of me, and the rampaging soldiers stormed my father’s home in Kurutie Town, physically brutalised him to the point of death. He sustained injuries in one of his legs and due to lack of medical facilities in the area he could not be treated and could also not be timely evacuated because of the siege and blockade by the Nigerian Army. By the time he was taken to Warri after many days, the doctors advised that the lower limb of the injured leg be amputated due to infection, unfortunately a few days after as a result of the physical brutality meted out on him by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, his sustained injuries led to his death.
Since then, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the Nigerian Army has not set up any enquiries on the death of my beloved father. Our father’s life was brutally cut short on the orders of President Buhari by soldiers of the Nigerian Army. My family has been painfully deprived of the love of its great Patriarch. The death of my father in the hands of the Federal Government of Nigeria is in tradition of a long list of martyred Ijaws and Niger Deltans who dare to ask for a better and equitable participation in the management of the oil and gas wealth taken from our very ancestral soil.
The Ijaw freedom icon, Maj. Isaac Adaka Jasper Boro, the Ogoni rights leader Ken Saro Wiwa and numerous young men and women in the Niger Delta have paid the ultimate price of freedom with their lives. It would be proper to assume that President Muhammadu Buhari now appreciates the value of human life having been humbled by his recent experiences with ill health, a reminder of the frailty and mortality of human existence. God is the supreme arbiter of the universe and each and every one of us cannot escape the karma of divine retribution. While on all of his medical tourism and sojourn in world class medical facilities in the UK, which bills were paid with proceeds ultimately derived from crude oil and gas revenue in my backyard, the mass of the Niger Delta people and Nigerians continue to be denied access to basic health facilities. Furthermore, I wish to use this medium to advise Mr President to turn a new leaf and seek the true face of God who has given him a new lease of life. His life has been saved while he orders the destruction of others.
I would like to remind Mr President that my bank accounts remain frozen on his orders thereby financially incapacitating me from performing my natural obligations as a father in paying my daughter and other dependants tuition fees and sundry expenses in Nigeria while it is known that your children have schooled or may still be in the process of schooling in highly rated Universities in the United Kingdom (UK) surely with funds derived from proceeds of the oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta. Your public asset declaration puts you way beyond the near capacity to have funded the education of your children in world class universities in the United Kingdom and also provide the affluence and luxury that they enjoy in the UK.
I make this observation because it demonstrates your personal insincerity and the injustices meted out to Nigerians by your policies. I am sure by now Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would have briefed you as is expected of government protocols, his visit to the take-off campus of the Nigerian Maritime University with standing structures and world class facilities is a testament to my personal values of hard work, probity and accountability. Mr Vice President and other government functionaries will bear witness to the monumental facilities in place that could be assumed to have been sold far below its true value.
On the contrary it means that your Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi riding on the wave of victory and new found political power and motivated by hate and vengeance lied out rightly when he claimed that I sold an empty stretch of land to the Federal Government of Nigeria. I understand that Mr Rotimi Amaechi is a high stake investor with campaign funds that ushered in your regime and as such he now seems insulated from the deliberate mischief and quagmire that he has dug your government into.
I hope you have realised that I was falsely accused. It is a great travesty of social justice to and disdain for us that we are being persecuted instead of praise for our personal efforts where government failed in its responsibilities, all for the building of the Maritime University in Gbaramatu Kingdom, a place hosting over eight flow stations in the oil industry and the Niger Delta where over 90% of Nigeria’s revenue is derived from. In this context, it will not be out of place to ask the juxtaposing question of what economic significance is your hometown Daura, which you approved construction of a railway line to, and the construction of a helipad with revenue derived from oil and gas in the Niger Delta region? The wealth of the Niger Delta is being freely appropriated and vigorously used to fund the reconstruction of the North East and other parts of Nigeria, on the contrary after much diplomacy of pleading by Ijaws and other well meaning Nigerians we earnestly await the commencement of academic activities at the Maritime University Okerenkoko.
Let me use this medium to also inform the world that the Nigerian Navy under the behest of President Buhari administration has looted my Waterfront and Jetty facilities in Edjeba, Warri, maliciously and unlawfully seized by the EFCC.
In the last taken inventory of my facility, there was over 10 billon naira worth of building and other materials in the Jetty, but information reaching me now has it that the Jetty has been stripped bare by service personnel of the Joint Task Force [JTF] Some of the materials presumably have been taken to Northern Nigeria. How could this happen under your watch? As rightly observed by other well-meaning Nigerians, let me echo their thoughts by asking ‘where is the much touted anti-corruption crusade?
The problem of environmental despoliation and degradation and issues of political, economic and social injustice and inequalities arising out of the oil and gas explorations aided by the policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria still looms larger by the day. Intimidation and threat is now employed to cow Niger Deltans in the place of engagement and positive tangibles. As we mourn and remember our late patriarch, the Late Chief Thomas Osen Ekpemupolo, we will seek justice to apprehend and hold accountable the very soldiers responsible for his murder so that he can finally rest in peace and we his descendants can be fulfilled.
I will also not be deterred by persecution and state act of terror against my person and communities in Ijaw land in the quest for the emancipation of our land and people. Long Live the Flame of Liberty! Long Live Ijaw Nation! Long Live the Niger Delta