Dickson cancels ex-militants’ meeting as MEND dumps Tompolo

Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, on Friday cancelled the proposed meeting of ex-militant leaders in the Niger Delta called by the leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo.

The meeting was earlier scheduled for Saturday (today) in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

But Dickson, in a statement on Friday by his media aide, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said that the governor would meet with the ex-militants in no distant time.

The governor said he would discuss with the ex-militant leaders issues that affected them and the nation as a whole.

He, therefore, called for the understanding and cooperation of all concerned.

A source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said many former militants had expressed interest in the meeting called by Dickson.

Tompolo had summoned leaders of the various wings of the militant group to an emergency meeting in Yenagoa on Saturday.

Though, he did not state the agenda of the meeting, Tompolo said the gathering was important.

He had said, “My dearly beloved commanders and leaders of various wings of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, I greet you all. It is my pleasure to humbly invite you to a very crucial and urgent meeting.”

Bur MEND dissociated itself from the purported meeting.

MEND, in a statement by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, described the planned meeting as an assembly of dubious contractors and disgruntled elements.

It said those calling for the meeting were reacting on behalf of oil thieves and corrupt public officials.

The group, however, restated its support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to probe the immediate past administration.

Similarly, a group under the aegis of the National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators called on its 12,000 members and others to shun Tompolo’s meeting.

The NCNDE President, Israel Akpodoro, told one of our correspondents in Abuja that the meeting is laced with mischief and bad intentions.

He said, “That meeting was convened by ex-militants loyal to some senior citizens in the previous administration. Although all the ‘Commanders’ and ‘Generals’ were invited, we are not party to that because the meeting is to instigate crisis. I have therefore directed my 12,000 members to shun the meeting.

“If the meeting is for good, I don’t have any problem with it, but I have come to realise that the meeting has mischievous intentions to cause trouble for the present government. I advise my members and other ex-Niger Delta agitators not to attend the meeting in their own interest.”

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