Violence mars Tompolo’s 46th birthday lecture

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[Delta]–A gunfight ensued as the birthday lecture held in honour of Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, came to an abrupt end.

The lecture which held on Wednesday, April 12, came to an abrupt end, following a clash between factional groups of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).

It was learnt that the birthday lecture was put together by various Ijaw interest groups and some of Tompolo’s associates to celebrate the life of the former militant leader who went into hiding since 2015.

Eminent personalities, including renowned professor of English Literature, Professor Godini Darah, were in attendance to discuss peace in the Niger Delta which ironically was disrupted with violence.

According to The Nation, the atmosphere became charged when two leaders of the two factions of the IYC; the Eric Omare camp and the recently inaugurated Peretubo Oweilami camp met at the event.

Omare, who was the first to arrive between the duo had been seated with some of the executive council members of his camp before the leaders of the other faction arrived.

The atmosphere turned violent when members of the Omare faction, who identified Oweilami and his entourage, tried to prevent him from entering the hall of the event in Okuemi Hotels, Warri.

The clash escalated into a scuffle and later the use of all manners of weapons, including guns, axes and broken bottles.

The order inside the hall was disrupted when some of the men involved in the fracas gained access and started charging at each other.

The riotous atmosphere, which had already scared several guests, was later quelled after about 40 minutes by the law enforcement agents on guard duty.

Although there were no casualties as at the time of filing this report, many of the escaping guests have reported losing their personal effects like mobile phones.

Reacting to the sad development, factional president of the IYC, Eric Omare, who said he was not sure the disturbance was occasioned by members of the Ijaw youth body, said he would inquire to know what really happened.

“I don’t have details of what transpired minutes ago, but if they (the invaders) happened to be IYC members, I apologise for that, but I need to confirm if indeed they were IYC members.

“If factional IYC members tried coming in to disrupt an event to honour Tompolo, it is condemnable because they ought to know that Tompolo represents peace and they ought to conduct themselves in orderly manner,” he said.




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