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Okuama: Ex-Niger Delta warlords finger Tompolo, Akpobolokemi



Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, ex-Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, fingered in Okuama crisis

Former Niger Delta warlords have called on the Federal Government led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to quickly take steps to prevent a major crisis brewing in the region in the aftermath of Okuama crisis.

The warlords also indicted former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi.

The call followed the murder of sixteen soldiers by unidentified hoodlums at Okuama.

According to Army sources, 16 military personnel, including a Commanding Officer, two Majors one Captain and 12 soldiers were murdered by suspected youths of Okuama community.

The soldiers were said to be on a peace mission when the youths struck.

Personnel of Nigerian Army also responded in kind by the retaliatory mass murder of several innocent residents.

Nigerians have continued to express shock over the murder of both the military personnel and innocent Okuama residents.

The Tompolo angle in Okuama crisis

The ex- warlords attributed the current unrest in the area to clash of interest amongst Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo,  and other stakeholders.

[Tompolo, it could be recalled, is the owner of Tantita Security entrusted with securing pipelines from vandals.]

The ex-warlords include General Ebi Gold, General Lastborn Ogidi, General Akpala Odidi, General Freeborn Teacher Owei and General Sunday Fullpower.

Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu

The former militants told their side of the story as related by eyewitnesses and residents of the area as follows:

“They said it came as a surprise when after being well received and entertained, the Military visitors insisted on going with three of the community leaders.

“The community resisted, reasoning that there was no basis for such and all hell broke loose as the soldiers reportedly opened fire on the community killing several people and injuring many.

“Reports say that the soldiers left and returned with reinforcement.

“Other sources say that the soldiers who came were ambushed on the river while returning after the attack on villagers of Okuama, by unknown persons who they said came in about 9 gunboats and the corpses of the Military personnel were recovered in faraway Forcados.

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What is the genesis of the Okuama saga?

“The genesis of the current crisis was when the former NIMASA DG, Patrick Akpoboloukaimi went to see former militant leader and now Security Consultant to the Federal Government, Chief Tompolo.

“On his way back to his village, Okoloba in Delta state, he raised alarm that he saw a speedboat trailing him.

“He was said to have alerted security forces that were with him who purportedly apprehended the said boat containing six persons.

“[These included] the youth leader of Okuama Community, a rival community to Okoloba, who were also heading towards their village.

“All were killed.

“This was said to have led to retaliation by the youths of Okuama community who also sought and killed the youth leader of former DG NIMASA’s village, Okoloba.”

What may fall out of the crisis?

The ex-warlords warned that the situation might deteriorate into a major crisis if not properly handled.

They called on the Federal Government to also look into the role Tompolo is playing in the entire crisis.

The former militants stated further:

“It has been noticed that in the wake of the Delta crisis still ongoing, he (Tompolo) clearly has extended the war to a Bayelsa community, Egbomotoru.

“Tompolo’s Tantita security has led attacks and raids with soldiers into Bayelsa communities under the excuse that General Endurance, popularly known as Amagbein, has a hand in the ongoing crisis in Delta State.

“As it currently stands, over 80 people had been killed, burnt and thrown into the sea to avoid detection.

“[They] have also initiated a complete media blackout on the development as at the Morning of 17th March 2024 in Egbomotoru, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

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“Reliable sources say that there had been over eight (8) attempts before now, with gunboats, houseboats and Tantita Security and military men to attack Egbomotoru, Amagbein’s village.

“[This is] in a bid to subdue and coerce him, as he is seen as a major threat and a force in the region that is seen to be challenging their stake.

“Amagbein, who is said to have become a repentant bunkerer, has reportedly resisted being lured into war with the military in order to avoid being framed as the aggressor.

“Fallout between Tantita boss, Tompolo and his former ally, Amagbein started when the ex-militant refused to be dragged into working for APC gubernatorial candidate for Bayelsa state, former Governor Timipre Silva and
his running mate, Joshua Maciver.

“[Maciver] is also an ex-militant and the coordinator of Tantita Bayelsa.

The Tantita connection

“Another reason for the attacks on Amagbein is said to be his resistance to the monopolization of the Pipeline Security Surveillance contract by Tantita.

“Amagbein insisted that it should be shared amongst the various state leaders.

“For this and other reasons as stated above, Amagbein was reportedly denied his wages to the tune of 1.25 billion Naira.

“He has been threatened and harassed severely for not succumbing to the pressures.”

Citing these instances, the ex-warlords maintained that there is a political undertone to the incidents in the Niger Delta.

This they described as victimization and intimidation.

“This needs to be thoroughly checked within the next 48 hours and the truth unveiled to avoid total breakdown of law and order,” they said.

They, meanwhile, sympathized with the soldiers that lost their lives.

They also asked the Federal Government to institute an investigation into the issues surrounding the crisis.

The former militants urged the Federal Government under Tinubu to quickly and decisively arrest the situation.

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This, they said, is to avoid a full-blown war in the Niger Delta region.

What do residents say?

Speaking on the issue, a community leader, who pleaded anonymity, rather asked some rhetorical questions:

“Why is Tompolo now the commander in chief of the Niger Delta?

“Why was his company, Tantita boat the one being used by the military in the place?

“Is Okuama now oil producing community? Is there pipeline in Okuama? ”

“Why will Tompolos Tantita be used against the Okuama people?

“The former DG of Nimasa is from okoloba the opposing community in this crises and one of the closest allies to Tompolo who made him DG NIMASA during Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure.

“Is Tompolo using the military and Tantita to fight the Urhobos?

“We all know there is no oil in the community so what’s the role of Tompolo’s Tantita in all this?

“What are Tantita boats and foot soldiers fighting for in Okuama by leading the security with so many boats used for the operations.

“Don’t forget that the Okuama people are fully Urhobos while Tantita is predominantly Ijaw youths,” he mused.

The former warlords also called for a probe into the role of Akpobolokemi in the entire saga.

Both Tompolo and Akpobolokemi are incommunicado during the crisis as several efforts by Diaspora Digital Media (DDM) correspondent to reach them as at the moment of this publication failed.

For Diaspora Digital Media Updates click on Whatsapp, or Telegram. For eyewitness accounts/ reports/ articles, write to: Follow us on X (Fomerly Twitter) or Facebook

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