Hundreds of students from the Niger Delta region have protested the continued trial of former militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The students want the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency to quash all charges preferred against Tompolo, saying that though the trial are politically motivated, Tompolo has maintains his support for national security.
Some of the placard bore by the students read in parts; “Tompolo is not guilty. “Tompolo is a prominent builder of the future of youths in Nigeria”, “EFCC must drop all charges against Tompolo”, “Though politically prosecuted, Tompolo maintains his support for national security,” among others
The students who were drawn from various institutions across the federation but mainly members of the National Association of Gbaramatu Students, (NAGS), and Law Students Association of Nigerian, DELSU Chapter, described Tompolo as a saviour to many students who hitherto had no access to education and should be commended instead of vilification.
Addressing the student protesters in Warri on Thursday, Freeborn Abraiye, President, NAGS said, “Tompolo is being witch hunt, his efforts in education of students cannot be overemphasised and his passion is enormous.
“Tompolo always ensured that youths of the region get scholarships to study. He is a selfless leader, the charges against him should be dropped.”
Attorney General of LAWSAN, DELSU, Jonathan Obiri on his part added, “Tompolo has done well. The charges against him are frivolous and of no effect.
“The government is only witch hunting him, they have no issues tangible against him. Tompolo is our saviour in the region. He knows the importance of education and has fought to give it to us.
“The government is doing little in the development of Niger Delta, this was even possible because people like Tompolo came out to challenge the impunity.”
Rachel Briyai, a beneficiary of UK Masters degree sponsored by Tompolo further stated that the government should swallow their pride and quash all the charges against Tompolo considering the efforts he has put in development of the region.
“The charges against Tompolo are frivolous, they should be dropped, he wants development, he should be encouraged by the government to do more and not to attack him.”
Meanwhile, Tompolo’s Media Consultant, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, who received the protest letters from the students has called on the government to listen to voice of reason, insisting that his boss is innocent of all the charges preferred against him.
According to him, the issue against Tompolo are purely political witch hunt but however advised the protesting students not to take into violence and cultism because of Tompolo.
Bebenimibo promised that Tompolo is always ready to support their educational pursuit, revealing that seven students will be traveling in January to commence their Masters degree courtesy of his boss.