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Government Ekpemupolo, former commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) better known as Tompolo, says Saturday’s meeting of militant leaders is about calming the tension building among ex-militants who have been putting him “under intense pressure” over the federal government’s indifference to the amnesty programme.
Maintaining that he remains committed to the peace and stability of the country, Tompolo said pressure from stakeholders in the region made him call for discussions.
He said beneficiaries of the amnesty programme were being affected by the delay of the federal government in unveiling its policy about the programme.
“I am compelled to clarify issues as they relate to the meeting of the leadership of ex-agitators under the platform of MEND and other organisations summoned at my instance,” he said in a statement he personally signed.
“The tension generated by the meeting is uncalled for, diversionary and mischievous as no evil is intended in whatever form.
“We take into account the fact that having embraced peace and remained supportive of various governments at all levels, including the President Muhammud Burhari’s government, we are surprised that a meeting of ex-agitators could prop anxiety.
“The nation would recall that in the buil up to the amnesty offer of the late president, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, there was hesitance on the part of most of Niger Delta agitators until God in His infinite mercy, granted me wisdom to provide leadership.
“The nation will also recall that under the amnesty programme as inherited by the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, relative peace was enjoyed even as security of lives and property was enhanced to an appreciable level. Also, oil production increased from 700 barrels per day to 2.5 million barrels per day.
“While some of us understand to an extent, the apparent delay in the continued payment of the monthly stipend to the ex-agitators in view of the seeming scrutiny of government agencies, including the amnesty office by the current administration, same cannot be said of the majority of beneficiaries of the amnesty programme.
Tompolo said his intention was to use the meeting placate aggrieved youths in the region, denying the reports that revocation of the pipeline surveillance contracts is the main agenda.