Students from the Niger Delta want the Federal Government to quash charges against an ex-militant, Mr Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
They made their demand known while staging a peaceful protest in Warri, the commercial centre of Delta State.
The students consist of the National Association of Gbaramatu Students (NAGS) and Law Students Association of Nigerian Students, Delta State University chapter.
The students claim to have benefited tremendously from the educational scholarship program of the Tompolo foundation, they, however, want the government to encourage him to invest more rather than prosecute him.
A beneficiary of the United Kingdom Master’s programmes sponsored by Tompolo urged the government to do what was needful in developing the region.
He said, “The government is only witch-hunting him, they have no issues tangible against him. Tompolo is our saviour in the region. He knows the importance of education and has fought to give it to us.”
Another beneficiary, Rachel Briyai, described the charges levelled against her benefactor as ‘frivolous.’
“The charges against Tompolo are frivolous and should be dropped. He wants development and should be encouraged by the government to do more, not be attacked.”
Since the last quarter of 2015, the former militant leader went off the security radar, following the manhunt for him by law enforcement agents, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian military.
He was alleged to have sold some fictitious buildings and facilities at the Kurutie temporal site of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU) in Delta State to the previous administration, purportedly pocketing about N13 billion.
Upon subsequent invitations by the anti-graft agency, Tompolo had refused several entreaties.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had in his acting capacity as President a few months back visited the university to access the structures on the ground.