Home » Tompolo And Ijaw National Council’s Silence Over Murders Of Their Own People In Okomu Community Deafening By Preye Francis

Tompolo And Ijaw National Council’s Silence Over Murders Of Their Own People In Okomu Community Deafening By Preye Francis

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The silence of Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, predominantly referred to by his sobriquet Tompolo and a former Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and the chief priest of the Egbesu deity, which is the Niger-Deltan god of war, is Deafening. It is pretty depressing that Tompolo, the Ijaw National Council (INC) and other NGO’s allied to the Ijaw nation is particularly benumbing amid the ongoing attacks in the Ovia South West Local Government Area, and more specifically along the Okomu River and Okomu Forest Reserve, by suspected terrorists who have even named themselves the Okomu Kingdom Ijaw Freedom Fighters (OKIFF).

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This is exacerbated by the fact that these Ijaw terrorists apparently not only killed innocent people of non Ijaw descent, but allegedly went into the predominantly Ijaw communities of Agbede, Oweike, IK Camp and the Okomu Ijaw communities, where the Monarch of Okomu Kingdom resides, where they maimed and murdered indigenes of these communities and burnt houses and property estimated to be in the millions of Naira.

The question emanating from the mouths of many are why these so called “Freedom Fighters” who call themselves the OKIFF would go into the very same area that they profess to be fighting for to murder and pillage relentlessly? Is it all about power and the resources in this area? – more than likely. The Okomu River has long been used for illicit activities, the most important of these being oil bunkering, illegal logging and theft of the Okomu Oil Palm Plc’s rubber and palm fruit. Whoever runs the river, runs these resources.

Based upon the above premise, a stage is now set for the ongoing massacres within these respective communities; a struggle that also spills over into the neighbouring companies and non Ijaw communities and surrounding hinterland, as a power struggle ensues between the various gangsters struggling for control of these resources, including the OKIFF. The OKIFF has apparently been sowing seeds of chaos in this area for a number of years under the alleged leadership of Lawrence and Alfred Yanbor, amongst others, together with Sunday Ajele as their apparent political commissar, and it is widely alleged that they were the perpetrators of the latest violence in their bid to maintain their dominance of the power and resources along the river against opposition Ijaw gangs.

These gangs and their members are also apparently all well known to the likes of Tompolo, the INC and their affiliates, yet they seemingly turn a blind eye to the murder and maiming of their own people, let alone others, for the sake of greed by saying or doing nothing to stop this carnage. The INC feebly responded to this question by stating that this is all because the government and the company (Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc) have refused to engage them. So, Ijaw people are being killed by their own people because the government and a company that has been supporting these communities with the likes of CSR projects and bursaries are allegedly not talking to them! Talk about passing the buck!!

Of course, political innuendoes and overtones also form part of this struggle campaign since a declaration of “independence”, due to differences of opinion between these gangs and the ruling government, allows the winning group to have absolute power, absolutely, over these resources, especially if the government does not react, but effectively capitulates, and does not reinforce or maintain law and order within the area, but epileptically, as is now the case. Not a single policeman, let alone police station exists in this whole area.

The expectation that peace will reign in this area becomes even more remote as these gangs continue to harass, maim and murder, not only their own people, but all and sundry in their manic bid to control these resources on the river. Is this then why the likes of Tompolo and the INC remain silent? Are they tacitly involved in this power struggle for the resources too? Are they supporting one or the other of these gangster groups which makes them partisan and unable to fairly look after those that normally look up to them for political solutions to issues such as these?

Their silence presumes so, or why would they not have already publicly denounced these murderous attacks and as leaders of their people gone in and brokered a level of peace that is expected of individuals and groups of these nature and caliber and stop the mayhem?

 

Francis is a community leader in Okomu

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