The N48 billion Tompolo contract
SIR: We are solicitors to High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (A.K.A. Tompolo) of Oporoza Town, Gbaramutu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. We write this letter on his express instructions. Your establishment, The Guardian Newspapers Limited on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at page 12, in its Editorial, made a publication against him laced with libelous statements as follows:
“The award of a N48 billion-a-year contract to protect pipelines bearing petroleum products to a former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a. Tompolo) may be convenient for the Federal Government but it adds no value to the esteem of an administration that had promised not to reward criminality with medals…Your newspaper by the said publication accused and branded our client as a criminal and that anyone who enters into business transaction with him is promoting criminality in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria… Our client states that he has never been convicted of any crime anywhere in the world by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Our client is a reputable community leader and holds one of the highest traditional titles in Ijaw nation known as the ‘Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation’ by reason of which he is a Global Ambassador of the Ijaw people and expected to display honesty, truthfulness and sincerity in all his dealings. Our Client has over the past decades maintained high level of integrity in both his public and private life and has not been found to be a criminal.
Eric K. Omare, Esq. LL.M (Aberdeen, UK).
On the N48 billion Tompolo contract editorial
WITH reference to the above complaint, we wish to state that the impression of Chief Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a. Tompolo) over our editorial of September 22, 2022 is inadvertent and regrettable as we did not mean to accuse or brand Tompolo as a criminal. As a newspaper, we recognise Tompolo as a leader of Niger Delta militants fighting for the control of the region’s resources and a reversal of the environmental degradation in the Niger Delta; a matter that has been equally of great concern to The Guardian. We therefore apologise for the wrong impression that our editorial might have created and assure Chief Ekpemupolo of our continued support for the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta.