There were divergent views, over the weekend, on the Federal High Court, Lagos order confiscating the property of ex-General Officer Commanding, GOC, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
Some Niger Delta activists, contacted by Sunday Vanguard, declined to speak on the matter, saying Tompolo should have complied with the order to appear before the court, especially after a bench warrant on him was renewed.
One of them said: “The court had no option than to seize his property until he decides to appear before it. That is the sum total of the order because as the prosecution indicated, it has to go on with the case without Tompolo.”
Those who accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of persecuting Tompolo, said “Tompolo Dockyard”, at Enerhen Road, Effurun, and listed as one of his property, belongs to his younger brother, Mr. George Ekpemupolo, currently the Chairman of Warri South –West Local Government Area.
However, the Ijaw Youth Council, Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, FHRAAC, and Niger Delta Security Watch Organization, slammed the Federal Government and the EFCC for the order, which they described as unjustifiable.
IYC spokesperson, Mr. Eric Omare, said: “The situation is becoming worrisome, especially considering the fact that, from available information, some of the seized property are not Tompolo’s. It follows that the situation is degenerating into persecution of Tompolo and his associates by the EFCC. And, especially, the case is between lawyer Keyamo and Tompolo’s local political enemies”.
National President of FHRAAC, Alaowei Cleric Esq., said: “The application purportedly made by the EFCC to seize the property of Tompolo, pending his appearance in court, is nothing but an enforcement of self-rule without recourse to the law.
IPDI National President, Mr. Austin Ozobo, and President, Niger-Delta Security Watch Organization of Nigeria, Dickson Bekederemo, in a joint statement, said, “The seizure of Tompolo’s assets is unlawful, the order is ill-conceived, barbaric, obnoxious, vindictive and provocative. Tompolo has accepted to face trial and that is why he engaged the services of a lawyer to do the needful before he finally appears. Nobody sees fire and jumps into it.”