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Tompolo in Ukraine,collaborators list with Yaradua as Militants plan to blow up trillion naira gas pipe project

WANTED leader of the Ijaw Youths Leadership Forum, Government Ekpomupolo, nicknamed Tompolo, who reportedly fled Nigeria to escape arrest by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) has sneaked into Ukraine, according to latest findings by the Nigerian Tribune.
His escape to the eastern European country was said to have been facilitated by Ukrainians with whom he had been engaging in arms deal in exchange for bunkered crude oil. South Africa was listed among the countries he had planned to escape to the moment military forces began to comb the militants’ hideouts in Niger Delta.
Tompolo’s exit from Nigeria, according to information from the militants’ camp, was made possible through the combined help of Ukrainians and South Africans who trade in arms and crude oil and with whom he had been engaged in business activities for some time.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the security operatives were still combing the specific locations in the Niger Delta where Tompolo was believed to be hiding, while not foreclosing the possibility that he might still be in the country.
The leader of the militants was said to have vowed to return to Nigeria to relaunch the struggle for the control of the South-South, while he was said to have said that the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta would be more sophisticated and properly coordinated when he returned.
It was learnt also that the JTF, despite being able to contain the excesses of the militants in some Niger Delta states, still had a lot of work to do in breaking the militants’ base of operations following hint that the military men had not been able to recover one-tenth of the arms stockpiled by the militants.
Sources close to the militants told Nigerian Tribune that the inability of the JTF to arrest Tompolo and other major leaders of the militants might leave room for their regrouping since their network of secret operation was said to be intact.
Further investigations revealed that the militants had tactically been retreating towards Brass and Akassa, the coastal fringes of Bayelsa State, with a view to regrouping and relaunching their struggle, this time by disturbing maritime trade along the axis.
Reports indicated that their main links are still within the Niger Delta states, even as they have been noted to be consulting for some of the oil companies on security matters, whereas only a few, according to sources, could suspect that they are agents of the militants.
Meanwhile, the seeming silence on the part of President Umaru Yar’Adua and security operatives on the much-talked- about list of backers of Tompolo further heightened anxiety and suspense as the President on Saturday refused to receive a South-South governor.
This development came as emissaries reportedly sent to the Presidency by the governor to verify the contents of the list of backers made fruitless efforts to get details of the list submitted to the president by the JTF last week.
President Yar’Adua is said to have commenced a process of scrutinising the said list with a view to separating those who had “genuine and official contacts with the militants” from those who actually engaged in illegal deals with them, the Nigerian Tribune learnt.
Nigerian Tribune on Friday exclusively reported that a serving South-South governor, a retired army general, as well as several politicians from the Niger Delta region were among those said to be having links with the wanted militants leader.
Although the report did not mention any particular governor, efforts have been made in the last three days by officials of two core Niger Delta states to confirm whether or not their principals’ names were on the list. The two governors were still in Abuja as at the time of filing this report.
But disturbed by the secrecy surrounding the list and the failure of his team to get meaningful results, the governor was said to have personally attempted to see the president but failed in the bid.
Said a source in the Villa: “I don’t know why your paper is putting these men on a high jump; did you mention anybody’s name in that report? As of Saturday morning, no fewer than two respectable persons had come around to see what the so-called list contained, but little did they know that it was purely a security matter, so not many people can have access to that kind of information here.
But disturbed by the secrecy surrounding the list and the failure of his team to get meaningful results, the governor was said to have personally attempted to see the president but failed in the bid.
Said a source in the Villa: “I don’t know why your paper is putting these men on a high jump; did you mention anybody’s name in that report? As of Saturday morning, no fewer than two respectable persons had come around to see what the so-called list contained, but little did they know that it was purely a security matter, so not many people can have access to that kind of information here.
“For those of them who had genuine and official contacts with the militants, either on behalf of government or oil companies, they should have nothing to worry about; only those who played some fast games on government and oil companies, all in the name of liaising with them to protect their workers or bring about peace have cause to entertain fears.
“For such individuals, most of whom are from the region, the situation in the region before now was an avenue for them to enrich themselves and deceive government agencies to part with so much money; unknown to such persons, government has a list of all such persons parading as go between; funny enough, there is no kobo any oil company parts with that the government does not know.
“So if they claim the region is not developed and they are gaining at the expense of their people, then they should be brought to book; that is Mr. President has instructed a thorough study of the said list so as to know who did what and for what purpose.”

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Segun Adeniyi, could not be reached for comments. Meanwhile, spokesman for the JTF, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, has expressed the readiness of the outfit to continue with the cordon and search operation to dislodge militants in the region, saying, however, that the JTF had no business with any list submitted to any quarters.
“It is not in our character to discuss such things, what we are doing is routine, and in the course of our operations, we stumbled on certain things, it is only appropriate that we defer to the authorities, what is done with such things is not our business; all we are doing is to ensure we do not go beyond the rules of JTF’s engagement; good enough, we have not done.
“The cordon and search will continue until we rid the region of militants and make it free and conducive once again, for economic activities; in the course of doing this, we are alive to our responsibilities, we are alert and we will not lose focus,” he said.
In another development, Niger Delta militants have threatened to blow up a $13 billion (about N1.917 trillion) gas pipeline project being undertaken by Nigeria and Algeria.
Algeria Mines and Energy Minister, Chakib Kheli, speaking to Reuters in Algiers at the weekend disclosed that the signing of the multibillion pipeline project which will see Nigeria exporting its gas had reached an advanced stage.
“We have reached the deal and we may sign it shortly as all the problems have been solved. Nigerian Oil Minister Rilwan Lukman and myself will sign it,” Chakib Khelil told Algerian state television.
The project, with capital costs estimated at $10 billion for the pipeline and $3 billion for gathering centres, would send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of gas to Europe via a 4,128 km (2,580 mile) pipeline from Nigeria via Niger and Algeria.
“We would not have any problem to finance the project,” he added. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, France‘s Total and Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell are among the international firms to have expressed interest in taking part in the project.
Despite the advantage of this project, the news agency reported that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which has shut down more than a fifth of Nigeria’s oil output since launching attacks on the industry three years ago, had warned that the planned project would be a target.
Nigeria has estimated natural gas reserves of 180 trillion cubic feet, the seventh largest in the world. Its liquefied natural gas company, Nigeria LNG, says it already provides 10 per cent of world supply, much of it to Europe and North America.

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Comment by Tari on June 10, 2009 at 9:26am
NOTHING WILL COME OUT OF THAT LIST, IT CAN ONLY SERVE AS TOOL FOR VICTIMISATION.
UNLESS IT CAN BE PROVEN THAT A CRIME WAS COMMITTED THROUGH CONTACT WITH TOMPOLO AND HIS MEN THIS WOULD AMOUNT TO A WILD GOOSE CHASE
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