Don’t deploy gunboats, fighter jets in our community, Tompolo’s kinsmen warn FG

Don’t deploy gunboats, fighter jets in our community, Tompolo’s kinsmen warn FG

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The kinsmen of ex-militant warlord, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, have warned the Federal Governmet against the use of force in dealing with the recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers militant group.
The NDA was alleged to be responsible for almost crippling the Nigerian economy in 2016.
Spokesman of the Gbaramatu Traditional Council, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, told our correspondent in Warri, Delta State, that the deployment of military gunboats and fighter jets in Gbaramatu communities would only be to the detriment of innocent civilians.
Tension had particularly mounted in Gbaramatu Kingdom, hotbed of the region’s oil crisis, since the dreaded NDA militia group, which brought Nigeria’s oil output to its lowest ebb in 2016, ended its cease-fire agreement with the Federal Government.
Gbenekama, a known activist in the region and spokesman of the paramount ruler of the Kingdom, said that targeting communities each time there had been crisis in the region amounted to injustice and repression of the good people of Gbaramatu.
He said the relative peace gained in the region so far would be jeopardised if the Federal Government decided to launch operations in the creeks and swamps of the Delta region because of NDA’s threat that had nothing to do with the Gbaramatu people.
He said, “Some few hours ago, military aircraft was flying round our palace and there were troops with gun boats all over Gbaramatu Kingdom. While we are appealing to the Niger Delta Avengers to sheathe their sword, we don’t know the rationale behind this, and why the deployment of troops and gun boats.
“Gbaramatu people are not at war with the Nigerian government. Why is it that anytime there is crisis anywhere; something happens in Bayelsa, or Rivers State, the first place of call is Gbaramatu? We don’t want what happened in 2009 and 2016 to happen again. So, let the military restrain itself and we are still appealing to the Avengers to sheathe their swords.”
He added, “The Avengers that were operating in 2016 that would say something, the next day they take drastic action are same people still operating but, somehow, they are now listening to us, including the traditional ruler, that they should sheathe their sword and give government sometime.”
“And thank God, nothing has happened since the renewed threat. So,why the deployment? Military presence in Gbaramatu and other parts of Niger Delta region is capable of escalating the crisis. Let the military back down.”
Gbenekama, however, said that the different military operations in the Niger Delta region would not help the peace process in the region, urging all parties, including the Avengers, to exercise restraint to avoid a situation where civilians would be caught in crossfire.
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has sent a passionate appeal to the NDA militants not to embark on further attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
Okowa made the appeal in a statement issued in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, stressing that Deltans would lose more if the group made good its latest threat to withdraw from further cooperation with the Federal Government and begin massive attacks on oil facilities.

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