Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Former Niger Delta militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias “Tompolo” has protested against the continued siege on his firm, Mieka Dive Limited, five months after he was vindicated of corruption charges by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Chief Ekpemupolo, in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday evening during a peaceful protest by youths and workers of the company, said there was no justification for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to continue to occupy the firm after a court judgement in his favour.
“After nearly five years of malicious prosecution by the EFCC and its henchmen on trumped up allegations, I was vindicated by God and prayers of all our well-wishers in the Niger Delta and all over the nation.
“On the 15th of July 2020, the law vindicated me and the Federal High Court threw out all the charges against me that I have no case to answer. Since then I have made several efforts to reach the government agencies particularly the EFCC to return my looted properties back to me. My peaceful efforts have so far been unsuccessful,” he lamented.
The ex-warlord however noted that five months after the court judgement, his firm with all the multi-billion properties inside, were still being occupied by the EFCC operatives.
“Let Nigerians note, more than five months after the courts vindicated me by quashing all charges of corruption levelled against me, the Nigerian state through the EFCC has refused to return my properties unlawfully taken from me under those charges. Not one of those charges is still standing, yet the EFCC has refused to do the right thing. Our peaceful protest today (yesterday) is to raise a cry against this injustice in our land”, he said.
Chief Ekpemupolo said their demands were simply return of the properties confiscated starting with the jetty where the firm is and pay compensation for the ones that were looted.
“EFCC has no legal reason to refuse to return my properties to me, the University which they said I stole is about to graduate its first batch of students and if not for the unjust stoppage of student admission for two years that batch of students would have graduated a year ago.
“Three years ago, we reported the massive looting ongoing at my jetty here in Warri to the Presidency, a few junior naval ratings were court-martialed, but the looting did not start at the bottom”, he said.
Managing Director of Mieka Dive Limited, Mr. Kestin Pondi said over 500 workers had been forced home since the ordeal started with the sealing off of the firm about five years ago.
He appealed to the Federal Government to order a return of the firm back to the owner so as to create avenue for continued engagement of the workers.
Some of the placards by the protesters read thus “Obey Court Order, Create Employment”; ” Buhari, EFCC Respect Court Judgement “; ” Mieka Dive Has Won EFCC On This Case”; “Buhari, The Case Is Over, Open Our Site Now”.