Government Ekpemupolo (better known as Tompolo), commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has accused the federal government of witch-hunting him for turning down the offer to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In an email sent to TheCable on Saturday, Tompolo said “the threat to declare me wanted is an unnecessary attempt to heat up the polity”.
On Thursday, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) threatened to declare the ex-militant leader wanted if he does not honour its invitation within seven days.
But Tompolo accused the anti-graft agency of giving the misleading impression that he is evading summon.
“The real reason this All Progressive Congress (APC)-led government is after me is that I bluntly refused to join APC and to support their governorship candidate in Bayelsa state,” the statement read.
“We cannot all be in APC. Our people have always believed in the Nigerian project and had always hoped to join hands with this administration to move this project forward, but the conditions being attached are not acceptable.
“The threat to declare me wanted is an unnecessary attempt to heat up the polity. I will go about my daily business, usual. So if anyone tells you that Tompolo is on the run, tell him Tompolo is not going anywhere.
“The impression being conveyed is that I was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and I failed to honour the invitation or even respond by letter to the invitation.
“On the contrary, nothing could be further from the truth. On the 24th of November 2015, I was informed at about 4pm that a letter of invitation had been dropped at my home in Warri, inviting me to EFCC’s office in Lagos by 10am on the 25th of November 2015.
“I responded by a letter from my solicitors, Messrs Jakpa, Edoge & Co. The letter dated 25th of November 2015 was received by one Uduak Ouot, a staff of EFCC on the 3rd of December 2015, after several attempts to deliver. I have proof of delivery from the courier company.
“I was therefore not a little surprised that the EFCC – an otherwise reputable institution – would stoop so low as to lie to Nigerians.
“As my solicitor’s letter indicated I am already in court with the EFCC in Suit No: FHC/W/CS/152/2015. EFCC had been served with the court processes since 20th of October 2015 but they refused to attend court on several occasions, or to file any court papers, only to appear for the first time on 30th November 2015 without filing any court papers. They even asked for the matter to be adjourned to 17th December 2015, the date they are now inviting me to appear before them.
“In fact, EFCC only invited me two months AFTER I sued them. In my Solicitor’s letter I informed them that as soon as the court decides one way or another, I would honour their invitation.”
He alleged that the invitation letter sent to him was leaked to the media to harass him and described the action as “an unnecessary and face saving effort at brinksmanship.
“As a full blooded Ijaw man and citizen of Nigeria, I have done everything in my power to follow the laws of Nigeria,” the statement read.
“Since the amnesty declared in 2009 by late President Yar’ Adua I have restrained myself to ensure that we all live in peace in this country. Those who think they can push us to war must rethink the necessity of such a war.
“How can a law-abiding government declare a man wanted who is in the law courts with them?
“They froze our business accounts since August 4th 2015, but we have not quarreled with anybody. We sued them to court; they refused to come to court. Now they are threatening to declare me wanted.
“I know why they are after me. It is not the alleged multi-billion naira property transaction. Afterall, it went through due process and was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). And as such if there are any questions to answer, it is the people at the FEC, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Federal Ministry of Lands and Survey, Federal Ministry of Transport, NIMASA, etc who approved the transaction that should be answering such questions.
“We will continue to pursue our court case.
“Finally, let me say this: if people can come from Sokoto, Katsina or Lagos to campaign in Bayelsa, why can’t I, a full blooded Ijaw man go to my Bayelsa to campaign?
“I will only add this: let the will of the people of Bayelsa prevail. Nobody should attempt to force the outcome of the election. We have kept faith with our promise to Nigeria, we expect no less from this country.”