Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, was born in 1971. He was a Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
For many years, Tompolo was a commander in different guerrilla groups in the Niger Delta which were all protesting against the insensitivity of the Federal Government and the international oil companies towards the exploitation and degradation of the Niger Delta. Tompolo, who amassed his wealth mainly from oil bunkering, played a major role in founding both MEND and the Niger Delta Militancy.
Tompolo embraced amnesty on October 4th 2009 together with other militants, in order to create an environment of peace in the area to allow the government and the oil companies carry out development projects in the region as promised.
This follows the handing over of weapons by militant commanders in the Niger Delta region in exchange for the promised amnesty and guarantee of jobs and training by the government.
Tompolo was born to a royal family, Okerenoko, in the traditional Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, in 1971. He had his basic education at Okepopo Primary School in Warri. Tompolo’s early life was just like that of any regular growing boy until he began to notice the unethical sidelining of his people from the gains accruing from the production of oil which was drilled from his own community.
Activism and Militancy
In 1993, Tompolo dropped out of secondary school and joined a resistance group in the Niger Delta. In 1998, he joined the newly formed Ijaw Youth Council and became a well respected member.
Because there was very little progress in the Ijaw Youth Council, Tompolo joined the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. The invitation of Tompolo to Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) to take refuge in Delta state in 2005 facilitated the formation of MEND soon after and in a very short time, Tompolo rose to a high commander in MEND and with his vast wealth he was able to supply MEND with large amounts of weapons and new equipment.
He was in command of thousands of militants and was very successful in attacking the insensitivity of the government and the Multinational oil companies for the exploitation and degradation of the peoples and environments of the Niger Delta. During his time as a guerrilla commander, Tompolo, under the umbrella of MEND, was able to drive the Nigerian government to grant amnesty to MEND members who decided to surrender. He himself was granted full amnesty alongside all of his men when he embraced the amnesty offer on the Federal Government of Nigeria under president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on June 27, 2009.
47 year old Tompolo is presently wanted by the EFCC in a case of conspiracy, illegal diversion of the sum of N34,000,000,000 (Thirty-Four Billion Naira) and N11,900,000,000 (Eleven Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira) belonging to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
On several occasion, Tompolo has shunned the order of a Federal High Court in Lagos to appear before it and answer to a 40-count charge of alleged fraud leveled against him by the EFCC. All efforts made by both the police and military forces to apprehend him proved abortive. It eventually boiled down to Justice Ibrahim Buba of Lagos Federal High court ordering for the seizure of some properties belonging to the former Niger Delta militant.
Until now, the whereabouts of Tompolo is unknown.