Niger Delta Governors appeal to Tompolo to shelve ex- militants’ meeting


Governors of the Niger Delta region are mount­ing pressure on Gov­ernment Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo and other ex-leaders and commanders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to shelve their meet­ing scheduled for to­day in Yenagoa, Bay­elsa State.

The plea for the meeting to be put on hold is connect­ed to the security concerns the call for the meeting has generated amidst anxiety that it could be hijacked to make provocative state­ments against the adminis­tration of President Muham­madu Buhari and trigger another round of militancy in the region.

The convener of the meeting, Tompolo who has taken time to explain the motive of the meeting to the governors and some con­cerned elders of the region that have been calling him has however insisted that the meeting would go ahead and assured all concerned leaders of the region that there is no cause for alarm.

In a statement he person­ally signed, he declared that the meeting is not intended to resuscitate militancy in the region or to destabilize the administration of Presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him the rising tension being cre­ated over the delay in the payment of stipends to beneficiaries of the Federal Government Amnesty pro­gramme necessitated the need to meet and discuss the way forward for the youths of the region.

While noting that ex-mil­itant leaders had declared support for the Buhari gov­ernment having also sup­ported the late Yar’ Adua government and Jonathan government he expressed surprise that a meeting of ex-militant leaders could cause anxiety.

Tompolo disclosed that he and other ex-militant lead­ers have been under intense pressure from ex-militants in the region over the delay in the payment of allow­ances of the amnesty pro­gramme and they needed to do something to douse the tension.

The statement read in part “To this extent, some of us, particularly me and other leaders have been under in­tense pressure from ex-agi­tators commanders, individ­uals, parents and guardians as well as communities who are beneficiaries of the Am­nesty programme. While a few see the delay in the pay­ment of their monthly sti­pends in the light of the need for the current government to settle in properly, others see the delay as a template to stop the programme. The expulsion of some stu­dents (home and overseas) by their schools and train­ing institutions particularly has heightened these fears. Hence, I thought it wise that a meeting of the collegiate leadership of the platform under which we operated as agitators could be con­vened to appraise the situ­ation and possibly, explore means to douse the tension that is growing among the disarmed youths whose sti­pends (training allowances and tuition fees) have been delayed for months.

This becomes more com­pelling in view of the fact that as leaders of the plat­form that served as midwife to the Amnesty offer, we owe the nation a duty to play our roles in order to stem a relapse of the relative peace in the Niger Delta Region”

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