NUJ Honours Tompolo With Meritorious Award 

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

ALL the way from the national headquarters, Abuja, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has conferred on Chairman of the Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL), High Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, a Meritorious Award in honour of his positive impacts on the nation’s economy through the protection of oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta.

National president of NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, presented the award to Tompolo on behalf of the union on Saturday at Oporoza, headquarters of the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

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Isiguzo jetted down from Abuja with some of his executive members including the national secretary, Mr Shuaibu Liman, Mr Paul Mumeh, and a veteran journalist, Mr Sola Adebayo, as well as officers of the NUJ Delta State Council led by Comrade Churchill Oyowe and his secretary, Comrade Victor Sorokwu.

Some members of the Warri Correspondents’ Chapel, who were also at the event, included the chairman, Okies Vickies, secretary, Edeki Igafe, Dele Fasan, Idowu Sylvester, Ebenezer Adurokiya and Francis Sadhere, among others.

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The award, according to Isiguzo, was in recognition of Tompolo’s outstanding contributions to the security of oil and gas infrastructure via the curtailment oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.

He said the pen-pushers arrived at conferring the meritorious award on Tompolo at the last NUJ National Security Conference in Abuja after a meticulous deliberation on his activities and successes in tackling economic sabotage even at the risk of his life.

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The number one journalist of the country, stated that Tompolo has set the pace in securing Nigeria from economic insecurity in the Niger Delta region.

He urged the media, other security operatives and agencies and good spirited Nigerians to rally around the TSSNL boss.

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“Somebody had risen to the occasion and gathered an array of young men who have taken it upon themselves to help this country continue to survive as a peaceful nation, united and continue to fend for its people.

“And that is the man that has, to a very large extent, substantially, helped us address the issue of crude oil theft.

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“That is one thing that has occupied our national life over time. But by his commitment, dedication and diligence, Nigeria, as a country, had, to a very large extent, reduced the activities of men of the underworld who have consistently engaged in pilfering, taking our common patrimony for their gains.

“NUJ, having assessed the activities of TSSNL, we decided that we must accord the necessary recognition to the man who carries the flag, birthed this organization, who has exceptionally distinguished himself, and who has been celebrated by Nigerians across all walks of life.

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“NUJ is an institution that is distinguished; when we look at the different realms of governance, we have the First Estate of the Realm, the Second Estate of the Realm, and the Third Estate of the Realm; all talking about the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.

“But there is a realm that Nigerians now look up to and if this realm collapses, Nigeria will collapse. This realm is the oxygen of democratic governance; it is the reason Nigeria is still operating and why we are enjoying peace and harmony and that is the media.

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“Therefore, this important realm has come to the Oporoza Community in Gbaramatu Kingdom to honour a distinguished son of the Niger Delta; a general in his own right who has distinguished himself, ensures and maintains an appreciable level of internal security.

“We have come to confer on him, the Internal Security Meritorious Award of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

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“In the course of the national security conference, only one award had been approved and it is being conferred on Dr Government Ekpemupolo,” Chief Isiguzo enthused.

Isiguzo continued: “I’m also excited that I’m doing this after 61 years of the existence of the NUJ, this award is coming up at this time.

“It is not just an honour to Tompolo but also an honour to me too. It is an honour to all of us and what that means is that the issue of insecurity is not just the responsibility of government but of every Nigerian.

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“Wherever you are, your contribution to ensuring their tranquillity, peace and harmony, is without blemish and doubt.

“When you provide information, and intelligence to security operatives and agencies, you have contributed in a certain percentage to reducing the problem of insecurity in the land.

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“So, it is a collective responsibility, and all hands must be on deck to ensure we address our problems.

“If Nigeria is peaceful, every part of the country, including your household, will be peaceful and that will give birth to development and progress.

“It will take our country from a third-world country to perhaps, a second-world country or who knows, maybe a first-world country. It is possible and it can happen in our time.”

He enjoined journalists to keep contributing their quota by sharing intelligence with security agencies and operatives in order to engender peace for the economic progress of the country.

Responding to the award, obviously elated Tompolo, who’s reputed not to have a Nigerian passport as contained in his citation read by Paul Bebenimibo, PhD, in his unparalleled modesty, disclosed that Nigeria is in a dire strait and needs all support to contain the activities of economic saboteurs so they don’t bring Nigeria down it knees.

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Waxing patriotic, the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) averred that: “I don’t have any other place, except Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country I have, so we must all join hands to protect and move Nigeria forward.

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“Our economy is in dire need of survival so we cannot fold our hands and allow some persons to sabotage the nation’s economy because of greed.”

The ceremony was held in the sprawling mini stadium at Oporoza amid topnotch hospitality, meal, entertainment and dance from beautiful Ijaw women coupled with the match parade of personnel of TSSNL.

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Highlights of the well-organised event included the induction of Tompolo into the Niger Delta Hall of Fame by members of the Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF). 

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