Niger Delta warlord and former agitator, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, has urged his fellow agitators in the region to give peace a chance in the interim.
Tompolo made the plea in a statement he signed and made available to journalists on Friday following the uneasy calm enveloping the region over the delay in the inauguration of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as pledged by the Federal Government.
Recall that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio had, after an emergency parley with stakeholders before the expiration of Tompolo’s seven-day ultimatum, promised to inaugurate the board by the end of June which appears not to have seen the light of the day.
Pleading with his colleagues on Friday, Tompolo, in the statement titled: ‘Niger Delta Agitators’ Ultimatum to the Federal Government of Nigeria: A Call for Restraint,’ warned FG to do the needful before the bubble burst.
“June 2021 has come to an end. The people of the region are yet to see any tangible move towards the constitution of the NDDC board by the Federal Government.
“The people are seriously agitated. There is palpable fear and tension in the region.
“I wish to reiterate my earlier position that, the government should, as a matter of urgency, constitute the substantive board of the NDDC to avoid unnecessary bickering and crisis in the region,” he warned.
The Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation said after he had reluctantly accepted the outcome of the consultative meeting, “I have done so much to keep peace in the region which some major stakeholders in the security circle are aware of.”
He went further: “I have been in constant touch with my fellow agitators in the region to give peace a chance, knowing fully well that there cannot be any meaningful development in an atmosphere of rancour and acrimony.
“As it stands now, the one thing the government must do on this issue is to be courageous enough to constitute the NDDC board.
“Government must be sincere in handling developmental issues in the Niger Delta region as the people have suffered enough, being neglected for several decades.
“The truth of the matter is that there is so much bitterness in the land owing to the lackadaisical attitude of this government in handling matters of great importance to its citizens.
“As for my follow agitators, please permit me to borrow the biblical words of Jesus Christ, that we should be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove to continue our agitation for a better living for our people.
“We must avoid anything that may throw the only relatively peaceful region in the country now, into chaos because of government’s nonchalant attitude towards the security and welfare of its citizenry as constitutionally provided.
“The average Nigerian citizen is a government of his or her own as the citizens provide everything for themselves today.
“The government is unfair to a greater number of its citizens. The Nigerian Government must create an enabling environment for the citizens to live a prosperous and peaceful life.
“Multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region are not left out in the troubles of the region. They are clearly part of the conspiracy in the marginalization of the region.
“They must perform their statutory obligations to the people of the region by promptly delivering cooperate social responsibilities to the people.
“Most of the companies are operating under the cover of the Nigerian Military, which has further exacerbated the relationship between Multinationals and their host communities.
They must do their business in a most friendly atmosphere, and not set neighbouring host communities against one another