Human rights lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, is demanding the arrest of Mr Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo.
In a petition addressed to the Director of State Security Service (DSS) and the Inspector-General Of Police, he advised the agencies to effect the arrest of Tompolo within 72 hours or be prepared for court action.
A copy of the petition was also sent to the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr Keyamo said that he had received briefs from the family members and friends of seven out of the 14 journalists who were kidnapped by boys loyal to the former warlord and would go to court if justice is not served in the abduction case.
Channels Television 2-man crew of Olu Phillips and Paulinus Odedeyi, were among those abducted but freed after seven hours.
Part of Keyamo’s petition reads:
The facts are that the aforementioned boys (hereinafter referred to as “the seven victims”), together with some journalists from different media houses went to Ogidingben in Delta State on Sunday, November 16, 2014, to get first-hand coverage of the crises leading to the cancellation of the commissioning of the EPZ Project by President Jonathan two days earlier. Recall that I raised an alarm last week about the threat by Tompolo in respect of the commissioning of the project by the President. True to the alarm, the President called off the commissioning because of the threat by Tompolo.
When leaving the venue, the journalists were joined on the boat by the seven victims, three of whom were given a free ride, one was a boat driver and three were from the company that owns the boat.
On their way from Ogidingben after their assignments, the seven victims and the journalists were stopped in their boats and blocked by more than ten other boats loaded with fierce-looking and armed hooligans around an area called Tebujo, which is also near an area called Opuraja. The seven victims and the journalists were then evacuated from their boat into one of the boats of the hooligans. Along the line, Tompolo called and spoke with one of the journalists and he confirmed that he sent the hooligans to accost them and that they should “co-operate” with his boys.
The seven victims and the journalists were then taken to Tompolo’s house in Opuraja where they were beaten to pulp by Tompolo’s boys. The cameras of the journalists were all seized and the memory cards were removed so that they could not show what they went to cover. Unknown to them however, the journalists all had back-ups of their materials in their external hard disks which Tompolo’s boys did not see and seize.
It was a near-death experience for all the victims and in particular for Mr. Tokunbor Oluwaleye who is suffering from internal bleeding and is in a critical condition till today. It took the intervention of Naval and Army personnel in the area for the victims and journalists to be rescued from the hands of Tompolo’s boys later that evening.
Sirs, your failure to simply carry out your statutory duties of arrest, investigation and prosecution of Tompolo for his various acts of lawlessness is now a national and an international embarrassment to the Government of President Goodluck Jonathan. It is disgusting to all men of normal minds to see a private citizen strutting all over the place, threatening lives, abducting citizens, (perhaps silently killing voiceless persons) and you hide your heads in the sand. Yet, he moves about with nearly a whole platoon of Army and security personnel that even a serving Governor cannot get. What is going on?
Recall that I wrote a complaint of the open threat to my life by the same individual nearly two weeks ago, yet you have not even done as little as write me an acknowledgment letter. It is such a shame. This unhealthy romance between government officials in high places and this individual raises strong suspicion over, perhaps, some criminal dalliance in relation to shady deals. I am confident that time will tell us better. There is no better way to see this. But I have decided that enough is enough.
Take notice that if within 72 hours of the receipt of this petition you fail, refuse and/or neglect to invite/arrest, investigate and perhaps prosecute Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo) for the threat to my life and the attempted murder of these seven victims and the journalists, I will be proceeding to court to compel you to do your duties under the law.
I would want you to come and tell the court what is tying your hands against Tompolo.