The many sins of Jonathan and Tompolo against the Niger Delta

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Mr Michael Johnny is a leader in the Niger Delta. He is the Chairman of Egbema/Gbaramatu Community Development Foundation. He hails from Okerenkoko, a coastal community in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State. In this interview with’s Austin Oyibode, Michael Johnny speaks on the massive sins of former President, Goodluck Jonathan and the crime of Tompolo against the region.


What is your thinking over the crisis rocking the Niger Delta?

It was in Bayelsa Government House where the militants vowed to make the nation ungovernable if former President Goodluck Jonathan did not win the 2015 presidential elections. They categorically said that in the Bayelsa Government House.

The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, was there, Kingsley Kuku was there, Asari Dokubo was there, Tompolo was there. A lot of Niger Delta leaders were there when the militants gave this threat to the nation. And now that God has pushed Jonathan out of office, they are fulfilling their promise.

People are saying there is Niger Delta Avengers somewhere, there are no avengers anywhere. The avengers you are hearing about is Tompolo. Tompolo is the avenger, let Nigeria stop deceiving themselves.

The military should stop dealing with Gbaramatu people, it is Tompolo and his co-traducers that are the avengers. The community and the rest of the people do not know anything about the whole matter.

Chief Johnny

Mr Michael Johnny

Tompolo was shouting telling people that he doesn’t have a kobo, that the little money he has today was given to him. How come he has all these billions in his account that has been locked up by the EFCC? And because of him, people are losing their lives, communities are being wasted, the Nigerian economy is going down.

People like Ibe Kachikwu are still playing politics with the whole thing. They are looking for appointments, the so-called Ijaw leaders, people like EK Clarke are taking responsibility for the damages these young people have done to the economy of the nation.

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The billions Tompolo has in his account, he never spent a dime to build even a foundation in Okerenkoko. Today, the poor people there are suffering but they cannot talk because they are afraid and scared of the diabolical powers Tompolo has. I’m not under his payroll, my family is not under his payroll, Tompolo should respect somebody like me, Michael Johnny, who exists in his kingdom.


Mr. Johnny

I’m not part of his criminal activities. How should he think I will be part of those nonsense so that I will keep my mouth quiet? Whatever that is going on in the Niger Delta is not strange. It is Tompolo that is behind all those things.

He is after my life, he is looking for me everywhere. His boys are looking for me. I’m not running away.  I’m in my house. My family and all of us stay here. I’m not from the North. I’m not from Sambisa, I’m not from Cameroun but I’m from Okerenkoko. I’m from the same family with Tompolo. So, he knows me. If anybody hurts me, we know ourselves very well. He knows my family, I know his family.

Now, the federal government is prosecuting Tompolo over fraud. How do you see the issue surrounding his prosecution?

I saw a newspaper news that said a Federal High Court in Lagos invited Tompolo for N13bn land deal. That was the first thing I protested when they informed the community. I protested against it.

I said the community needed to be carried along. The law says communities must be carried along. That is where I represent the community. However, the federal government started the probe, all Nigerians expected was that Tompolo will be civilized, courageous and more Nigerian enough to present himself and answer questions.


I expected that if Tompolo claims innocence, he should go and defend himself. That is what every Nigerian expects every civilized man to do. But rather than going to present himself for questions, the Niger Delta crisis came up and they are demanding that the federal government should step down the case against him. Tompolo has made many people to be suffering in the region.

Jonathan that empowered him financially could not even build access road to Otuoke, his village. He does not even understand Ijaw language. If he understands Ijaw, he would have responded to the needs of his own Bayelsa people, he would have known the pains of the Ijaw people.

Don’t you see his name, Ebele, Azikiwe and all those names he is bearing. He is a total failed man. He has failed the Ijaw people. He has failed the Bayelsans. What led to the death of Alamieyeseigha? Today, people are saying it is APC government that killed Alamieyeseigha, the family of Alamieseigha does not know what killed him. It is people that set him up. Alam was the only proud son that the Ijaw people had. He stood for the pains of the Ijaw people.

He was set up by the PDP people that called themselves Alam’s brothers. They made him useless before they killed him. Was it not the same people that called themselves PDP that dressed Alam like a woman? Was it not the same people that set him up? So, today people are turning the truth to another thing. And they are saying the present government is against the Ijaw nation. No, we should stop deceiving ourselves.

So, Tompolo’s prosecution is something that every civilized man will pass through due process to answer. Look at Fani Kayode, Raymond Dokpesi and others, they went and came back. Those are civilized people. If every other person passed through due process to answer their case, how should Tompolo not answer his case if his hands are clean?

There is a lot of fraud in that Maritime University. I have documents to prove, if Tompolo gets to the court and starts saying other things I will bring the documents. I will prove what he did in that place. I am not the person probing him. It is Tompolo that dragged this thing to this extent. He is being wrongly advised. Let him go and answer his case.

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Now, let’s talk about Jonathan, what can you say that for the six years Jonathan was President of Nigeria that he did for his Ijaw people?

Yes, what Jonathan did to us was that he brought disunity to the people of Ijaw nation. The Ijaws were united until Jonathan came in as president of Nigeria. And we felt that yes, we have gotten somebody whom we needed to change our lives.

We never knew Jonathan would bring abject poverty and disunity to our people. A lot of Ijaw people have been victims of Jonathan’s sins. Many have lost their lives. Five to six years would have been enough for Jonathan to change the lives of his people.

He tried in some places but he appointed the wrong people into power. He appointed prodigal sons into power, people who do not have access roads to their communities.

They went there, packed all the money and kept them in one place. And whatever devil gave to you he will collect them all. They kept all the money in their banks, EFCC now came and seized all of them, including their property and now they have returned to square one.

Jonathan owes the Ijaw nation an apology. He brought disgrace to us. He did not do well for the Niger Delta people. He may have tried in some areas, managing government is not just awarding contracts or whatever you call it. How many of the major contracts did he complete in the Niger Delta?


The few projects they brought were to siphon money. Jonathan and Tompolo used the Ijaw people to get major contracts and after getting all the money, they siphoned them into their pockets. So, Jonathan’s six years brought disunity to the Niger Delta people, most especially to the Ijaw people.

Now, President Buhari is probing Jonathan’s men but Jonathan is not being touched. Do you subscribe to Jonathan being probed?

How many people have you asked this question? Why do Nigerians think that Buhari is just probing Jonathan’s men? If you see the mess, not just what people are hearing and saying, if you see the mess my brother Jonathan and his team did to Nigeria, you will be ashamed to bear an Ijaw name.

Jonathan was not wise enough. Jonathan is not civilized enough. He thinks that he can run government like his family affairs. He left Nigeria in the hands of people like Tompolo, EK Clarke and Akpobolokemi. Do you know how NIMASA has been operating for these years? They went there, instead of them to do the work, they stole money.

See what Akpabio did in his own state before he left. Even if Akpabio is a thief he worked for his people. So, Jonathan brought curse and disunity to the Ijaw nation. Jonathan is a disgrace to the Ijaw nation.

It’s a disgrace for him to talk to the president about the Niger Delta. I cannot say Nigeria should hold him responsible. I will not say that. I will never say Goodluck should be arrested. But nemesis will catch up with him. The Ijaw nation will never forgive him. They have now turned the Ijaw nation to shrine. They need to come together and ask us for forgiveness.

There have been cries over oil block ownership in the Niger Delta. The oil blocks are owned and controlled by the Northerners and Westerners. Are you comfortable with them owning oil blocks in the Niger Delta? 

There is a procedure to apply, then you involve the politics, provide an enabling environment, create a peaceful atmosphere, people will come, then use that opportunity to demand for what you want. If I want to demand for oil block, I will talk to the federal government and if they refuse to listen to us, if we all pack to the flow station and say they will not operate the flow station without bursting any pipe, will they kill us?

Formerly, that is how we were doing it. The Itsekiri people have been protesting for over days in Chevron, have they blown up any pipe? Have they destroyed any Chevron equipment? Have they killed any soldier? So, ownership of oil block is a right that we can never compromise. We want our own share of that one.

But I will not support the manner the avengers are going about it. Nigerians should know that it is our right and we need it. We do not have farms in the North, so we need to have oil blocks in the Niger Delta. But we have tried through the gun, we did not succeed, we tried it for the second time, we did not succeed, why do you want to try it again? That is my stand.

So, what do you advise Niger Deltans to do to get the oil blocks for themselves?    

It is dialogue that will bring peace. Nobody settles issues in the midst of war. If really the Niger Delta people are ready for dialogue, the avengers must drop their swords completely.

You cannot drop your sword for one week or one month and give the federal government ultimatum and within one to two days you start blowing pipelines again when the dialogue process is still on. What I know in government is that you cannot hold government under duress to get what you want.

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Having laid down your arms, for six months or one year, you may not hear anything. But rather than be patient with the federal government, many now see it as business.

We need to also say that not all the pipes they are blowing are done by Tompolo’s boys. There are some criminals, there are even some contractors who are repairing pipes, they give money to boys to blow up pipelines so that they will repair and make money. At the end of the day, Tompolo now claims responsibility as avengers that they have blown another pipeline.


So, it is through dialogue that it can be achieved. The Niger Delta people must provide the enabling environment. Buhari said he will develop the Niger Delta and he is a man that stands by his words.  But for that to be, we must be at peace. We must separate criminality from the genuine agitation. Then we give the federal government time.

Many have said that former presidents have made series of promises but they have failed to actualize them. They will say, we will do this and do that but they have continuously failed. And to the Niger Delta militants, the best way to bring the government to their attention is this pipeline bursting.

I think five to six years of Goodluck time was much enough for even Tompolo to strike once and give Goodluck a warning to develop the Niger Delta fast. They allowed him to finish for good six years. He was going after Sambisa forest looking for Boko Haram.

While he was busy doing that, they never one day blew up a pipe and give warning to Goodluck. Buhari came into power, the man has not spent even two years and they are given him ultimatum and blowing pipelines. The Ogoni land your man could not clean, he just did that, is that enough reason to keep quiet and watch what that man can do?

So, you can’t tell me that enough time has been given to the president. Before the man came into power, Dasuki who was the ATM card was paying billions of naira to everybody. My own point is that give the federal government time to develop the Niger Delta and he will do it.

You mentioned Kachikwu, do you mean he is sympathetic to the Avengers?

Kachikwu is a sympathiser to Tompolo. Kachikwu’s younger brother, Dumebi, is a friend to Tompolo. Kachikwu knows the truth, he should have advised Tompolo the right way to go.

Kachikwu invited people like us to Asaba, we held meeting with him. Am not a representative of the avengers. I went there as an invitee. At the end of the day, they went back and turned the thing that we were negotiating for avengers.

Kachikwu is not telling the president the truth. He feels he can solve the problem by doing so. If he is discussing with Tompolo alone, because Tompolo is blowing up pipes and he is not discussing with even the community chairman of that place that is not right.

Kachikwu should tell the president the truth. You cannot tell the federal government to drop its sword when Tompolo is firing his gun. If Kachikwu is playing a transparent game, he should tell Tompolo and his boys to stop blowing pipelines. That is when Nigeria will be convinced that he is working.

The post The many sins of Jonathan and Tompolo against the Niger Delta appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read 24/7.

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