Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, on Tuesday made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Nigerian Army to return the golden sword, which was allegedly seized by the military during the invasion of the area last month.
The ‘golden sword’, which is also referred to as the traditional symbol of authority, according to Tompolo, belongs to Gbaramatu Kingdom and was allegedly removed from the ‘Egbesu Shrine’ during soldiers’ invasion of Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Warri South-West of Delta State.
The embattled former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta stated this in an open letter he addressed to President Buhari on Tuesday.
In the letter, Tompolo explained that the ‘symbol of authority’ was seized while the military was searching for him over his alleged involvement in recent series of attacks on oil facilities, which he had consistently denied.
The Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation, who also described himself as the Chief Priest of the Egbesu Shrine, alleged that other property worth several millions of naira belonging to Gbaramtu indigenes were still missing.
He said, “Your military has not returned the golden sword (symbol of authority) and the innocent students as well as the palace staff picked up at Oporoza town, on Saturday, May 28, 2016, to Gbaramatu Kingdom.
“Today is exactly 31 days after the invasion of the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Oporoza town, by your military, led by Brig.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya of the 4th Brigade, Benin City, in search of me, with the allegation that I am the one behind the bombing and destruction of crude oil facilities in the Niger Delta region, and the incident happened in my absence.
“But I was informed that the army was on the loose, and committed so much abomination in the community. Imagine, the traditional ruler of the kingdom was literally placed on house arrest for one week.
“As I said in my previous publications, the military made away with the Symbol of Authority of the Gbaramatu people from the Egbesu Shrine, which I am the Chief Priest. They also made away with other valuables, worth several millions of naira from the community. The most annoying one is the purported arrest of 10 young promising men, most of whom are orphans, who are secondary school students sitting for the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations, and other palace staff, and labelled them as members of the Niger Delta Avengers.”
Tompolo, who is wanted by the EFCC for money laundering, added, “As I write you now, these innocent young promising men are still with your military for no reason. This is truly man’s inhumanity to man in our own country. We are presently being treated like conquered ones because of crude oil.
“This was how they arrested Chevron Nigeria Limited staff (employees) on routine duty in Kokodiagbene community of Gbaramatu Kingdom, and labelled them members of the Niger Delta Avengers. It took spirited efforts by the leaders of the kingdom and other well-meaning Nigerians to convince the military that the arrested men were not involved in pipeline destruction.”