ABUJA – The Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has initiated frantic moves to stop the leader of Niger Delta agitators, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, from fulfilling his threat of a catastrophe in the oil region if the government did not inaugurate the substantive board of the interventionist agency by June 6.
Meanwhile, the ranks of Niger Delta militant groups prepared to cause havoc at the expiration of the ultimatum keeps enlarging by the day as another militant group, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, vowed: “We will respond with maximum force at the expiration of the one-week ultimatum if the substantive board was not inaugurated.”
Also, past leaders of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), held an emergency meeting in Warri, Delta state, following renewed tension in the region while Special Assistant to NDDC Interim Administrator on Youth, Udengs Eradiri, flew to Warri on his way to meet Tompolo for a meeting.
The coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col Milland Dikio (retd.) and Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, were reportedly involved in the combined efforts.
It was learnt that Akpabio, who is leading the team, has been speaking on phone to several persons perceived to be close to Tompolo, popularly known as General Officer Commanding, GOC, of Niger Delta struggle since Monday. A source close to him said he pleaded with one emissary on phone that Tompolo should withdraw his last Sunday ultimatum, calling on Mr President, members of the National Assembly, and security agencies to work towards the constitution of the substantive board of the NDDC, within a few days, to avert a total breakdown of law and order that will equally affect crude oil exploration and exploitation activities in the region.
Having whittled down the protest by the Ijaw Youth Council, which earlier issued a 30-day ultimatum over non-inauguration of the substantive board, the minister was rattled at the weekend when Tompolo came up with a declaration: “I hereby proclaim a seven-day ultimatum starting the date of this publication to inaugurate the substantive board of the Commission.”