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Tompolo (in white) at his father's funeral

Nigeria, we hail thee: Tompolo tomfoolery

Government Ekpemupolo — more commonly known as Tompolo – the former Niger Delta “militant” who is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of theft and money laundering totaling 34bn naira ($171m), arrived at his father’s funeral in Kurutie, Delta State yesterday, not looking anything like a man on the run from the law.

He was even accompanied by police officers, without a hint of embarrassment! Some observers claim that in the Gbaramatu area, where Tompolo comes from, his name “Government” is quite appropriate as he is seen by locals as the government – he virtually controls the area, dishing out largesse and punishment as he sees fit.

Tompolo was a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a group that kidnapped oil workers and attacked installations between 2006 and 2009. He would later agree an amnesty deal with the government and was rewarded with lucrative “security” contracts by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, especially at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

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