There are strong indications that the Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has been making moves to calm ex-militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, to drop the 7-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government for the reconstitution of the board of the NDDC.
It was learnt that Akpabio has engaged several people close to the ex-war lord to prevail on him not to carry out his threat of unleashing terror on the oil-rich region from June 6, 2021.
Sources say the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Colonel Milland Dixon Dikio (Retd) is among the high profile personalities that has been recruited to meet with Tompolo.
Also, past leaders of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and other former ‘Generals’ of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have also been contacted to be part of the combined efforts to stop Tompolo’s threat.
One of the sources said: “Several people have been contacted to speak to Tompolo. The threat came as a suprise because the Minister had thought that he had succeeded in making the IYC drop their protest which started last week.
“I’m aware that one of the things that the representatives of Akpabio was told to inform him so he will withdraw his ultimatum, is that a list of the new members of the substantive board has been forwarded to the Senate for screening and confirmation”.
Niger Delta Connect gathered that a former IYC President, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, is coordinating the efforts from Yenagoa and Warri while Akpabio is doing his part from Abuja, via telephone.
Eradiri, who is the Special Adviser on Youths to the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa, had in a Television programme on Tuesday morning expressed surprise that Tompolo issued that ultimatum, saying he won’t believe it until he meets with him.
Meanwhile another militant group, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC), has vowed to react with maximum force, at the expiration of the one-week ultimatum by Tompolo if the substantive board was not inaugurated.
The group, in a statement, said the refusal of the federal government to appoint a substantive board of the NDDC despite the call by leaders of the region is a deliberate step to undermine the people of the region.
“Therefore, at the end of the seven-day ultimatum given by Tompolo, we will launch a deadly attack on the nation’s oil facilities in the region. Our actions will cost the federal government unimaginable damage to the already fledgling economy.
“Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio is sidelining the region and running NDDC as his own personal empire while neglecting the development of the people and region”.
The statement further said the refusal of the federal government to constitute the NDDC board is a brazen display of arrogance, an aberration and it is provocative.
According to the statement, the group will respond with maximum force at the expiration of the one-week ultimatum”.