The Action Congress (AC) party has challenged President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to publish the documents said to have been unearthed by the military during the invasion of Camp 5 in Delta State, if indeed it is committed to ending the Niger Delta crisis.
"We are baffled that the government has decided to withhold such sensitive details from Nigerians, over two weeks after they were supposedly unearthed. It calls into question the government's sincerity in seeking to end the crisis, and gives an impression that the government may be trying to shield some people listed in the documents,'' AC said in a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Media reports quoted Aso Rock sources as saying, on June 2, that the information at the disposal of the government contains the list of militants' backers, including highly-placed government officials; details of bank accounts into which proceeds of illegal bunkering have been paid and beneficiaries of such payments. The documents were taken after an abortive attempt to arrest the rebel commander High Chief Government Ekpemupolo; alias Tompolo by elements of the Joint Task Force ranks amid the army's embattled intensifying campaign against militants in the Niger Delta.
Government troops raided Tompolo's hideout in what has becomeone of the most farcical military misadventures to knock Tompolo out of business. Although Tompolo escaped, and his whereabouts remain a mystery, the JTF said it discovered secret documents listing Tompolo's fighters and his political contacts. A JTF source told Huhuonline.com that information about the highly classified operation to nab Tompolo was released to him once the mission got underway.
And the finger-pointing has already started: “This was a highly classified mission and very few people outside the JTF except three State Governors were briefed about it. Either way, someone hinted Tompolo that we were coming, and he escaped at the last minute,” a source close to JTF spokesman, Col. Rabe Abubakar told Huhuonline.com, adding angrily: “whoever did this should be prosecuted and impeach for treason.”
Although he did not refer to them by name, Huhuonline.com has learnt that the three governors accused for orchestrating the leak - Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Timipreye Sylva of Bayelsa all have well documented ties to the militants.
All three Governors have vigorously denied the charge, but there were strong indications that Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State was the likely culprit. Uduaghan has close links to militant groups whose members serve on the Delta Waterways Security Committee created by Uduaghan. Reports say Uduaghan has often visited a known training camp run by Tompolo; who until recently received N100 million a month from Governor Uduaghan.
Government forces claim Tompolo, in his flight, left behind in his guesthouse a package of documents giving details about the identity of his fighters, arms procurement and relations with senior Delta politicians. If the documents prove genuine, the repercussions could be huge. Information in those documents may also embarrass ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and top brass of the ruling PDP including Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan.
Yet Tompolo's Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) rejects the documents as fake and is stepping up hit-and-run operations against government forces and oil companies. MEND has threatened to destroy the entire oil infrastructure in Delta State and extend the action to all the states in the Niger Delta region and off-shore. MEND has in the last 21 days attacked four Chevron facilities in Delta State. The first attack was on major trunk lines, which affected the flow stations at Alero Creek, Otunana, Abiteye, Makaraba and Dibi resulting in the loss of over 100,000 barrels per day.
Media reports quoted MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo saying MEND has witnessed a "brazen absence of federal character in all the key positions in President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's administration, which has been selfishly taken up by the North. We hope that by the time the oil and gas exports come to zero; Nigeria will maintain those positions from the export of groundnut oil."
Some of Tompolo's supporters say he is lying low in Warri, the capital of Delta State, or in a well-fortified camp in the creeks. Others claim he is in Cameroon.
Originating at www.huhuonline.com