•I was under pressure to convene meeting — Tompolo
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By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, Niger Delta and Sam Oyadongha
YENAGOA– LEADER of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, explained, yesterday, that he summoned a meeting of the militant group in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, because of the overpowering pressure mounted on him and other MEND leaders by ex-agitators and other beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme. The meeting earlier scheduled to hold today has been put off.
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, called for the postponement of the parley, saying he would meet with the ex-militants to discuss the burning issues affecting the ex-agitators.
A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, reads: “Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called for the postponement of the proposed meeting of the leaders of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta, earlier scheduled for this Saturday, 25th of July, 2015 in Yenagoa by them. The governor will meet with them soon to discuss issues as they affect the ex-agitators and others issues of overall strategic interest of the region and the nation as a whole.”
The governor called for “the understanding and cooperation of all concerned.”
Informed sources, however, told Saturday Vanguard that due the tension generated by the meeting, some ex-agitators had already declared that they would not participate.
They, nonetheless, expressed their willingness to attend a meeting summoned by Governor Dickson soon to discuss issues as they affect the Ijaw nation, the region and the country.
I was under pressure to convene meeting – Tompolo
Tompolo confirmed there was apprehension in Ijaw land over the continued delay by the Federal Government in paying monthly stipends to the beneficiaries, adding that while some of them, (leaders) understood the reason for the noticeable delay apparently caused by the scrutiny of government agencies, including the Amnesty Office, majority of the beneficiaries did not see it in that light.
His words: “While a few see the delay in the payment of their monthly stipends in the light of the need for the current government to settle in properly, others see the delay as a template to stop the programme. The expulsion of some students (home and overseas) by their schools and training institutions particularly has heightened these fears.”