Pay Me My N20m - Whistleblower Begs Governor Wike

A whistle-blower, Bello Mustapha Echiomuha (not real name), whose tip-off led to the arrest of one the most wanted criminals in Rivers State...

A whistle-blower, Bello Mustapha Echiomuha (not real name), whose tip-off led to the arrest of one the most wanted criminals in Rivers State and leader of a deadly cult group, Greenlanders, Kingsley, aka Tompolo, speaks with CHUKWUDI AKASIKE from his hideout about his frustration following the state government’s failure to redeem the N20m, his worries and other issues.


How did you know that Kingsley, aka Tompolo, leader of a deadly cult, Greenlanders, was declared wanted?

I was at home one day in January 2018 after the conclusion of my National Youth Service Corps programme in Agudama Community in Bayelsa State. Immediately after the death of Don Waney, who masterminded the killing of 23 innocent persons at Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, the Governor of Rivers State (Nyesom Wike) declared five of his gang members wanted.

Kingsley, also known as Tompolo, who was one of them, had run away. It was around January that he came to Agudama community in Bayelsa State, where we were staying and I started observing him because he smoked a lot and also behaved arrogantly.

Where was Tompolo residing after he came to the community?

He (Tompolo) rented one small shop close to our house during that time. I was working at one school in Agudama community at that time.

How were you able to find out that he was one of those being wanted by the police?

One day, while I was at home, I overhead him (Tompolo) making a phone call and saying that he was granted amnesty by the governor (Wike) but he refused to accept it. He also said he did not know why the governor declared him wanted and that they should tell the governor (Wike) to remove his name from the wanted list of cult members. That was how I got to know the identity of the guy. But before then, I had been following the news and was aware that some people had been declared wanted. I immediately called my friend and told him that it seemed like the strange guy who recently came to the community and rented a small shop very close to us was one of those cult members declared wanted in Rivers State.

What happened after then?

Afterwards, we reported the matter to the former Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed, who is currently the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police; we met him one-on-one and reported the guy, but it seemed like the guy (Tompolo) suspected that we had overheard his telephone conversation. So, he fled the premises for some months. We also informed Ahmed that the guy had run away. But the police commissioner told us that we should be vigilant and that we should report the matter to the Bayelsa State Police Command anytime we saw him again for immediate arrest.

We didn’t know that while he was running away, he was being tracked by the Anti-Cultism Unit of Rivers State Police Command; we also got to know from the Anti-Cultism Unit personnel in Rivers State that they tracked him three consecutive times, but couldn’t arrest him. So, in August when I returned to Bayelsa, I saw him and kept more vigilance on him and at that time, he became more brutal and always made statements like ‘I wish to go to hell’ and ‘if anyone wants to go to heaven, let that person leave the world for them’.  He also bought a small dog and named it OSPAC (Onelga Security Planning and Advisory Committee). I got to know about the meaning of that when I did a research about it and wondered why someone would name his dog after a local security outfit.

Then I realised that this guy was an unrepentant sinner. So, I reported him to the Bayelsa State Police Command and on September 25, 2018, he was arrested. Immediately after the arrest, I met CP Zaki Ahmed with my brother and told him that the arrest had been made. The then Rivers CP told us that he was very happy with us. He then promised that he was going to make arrangements with the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Austin Iwar, to transfer the suspect from Bayelsa to Rivers State Police Command, which they did around November 4, 2018. They handed him over to the Anti-Cultism Unit, Rivers State Police Command. It was at that time that I met the head of the Anti-Cultism Unit in Rivers State and he kept promising that they were working on it.

What did you find out later?

When I discovered that they were not serious about the matter, I later discovered that even before the guy (Tompolo) was moved from Bayelsa to Rivers Police Command, he had been bragging that the police and the army were afraid of his name. We also heard that a former governor of the state had called the Bayelsa State Police Command and ordered that they should release him. The police were under pressure to release him (Tompolo). Before the police transferred him to Rivers State, they made sure that papers were signed; I also heard that a local government area chairman took over the whole process and made it a secret, which was not how such things were usually done.

Whenever the police arrested any criminal, they made it public so that the entire world would know about it and whatever complaints the people had against that criminal would be brought forward. But the arrest of this guy was made a secret. I am not too sure if the Governor of Rivers State (Wike) is aware of the arrest.

What were you told about the current whereabouts of Tompolo?

I can’t say if the guy is still in police custody now or not, because even some of the people that made the arrest said they did not know where they hid the suspect and that they knew that the governor was not aware of the arrest. What we heard before the suspect was transferred was that they received calls, especially from a former governor of Rivers State, demanding his release. We also heard that he was bailed with an amount that was even bigger than the bounty Wike placed on him.

Do you have evidence to prove that your information led to the arrest of the wanted suspect?

I’m just a youth empowerment beneficiary in Bayelsa State and I have even lost my job. I don’t have any money to even collect the certified true copy from the Bayelsa State Police Command in order to pursue this matter legally. The police told me to pay N10,000, to obtain the certified true copy, but I didn’t have that amount of money to pay. The police that are supposed to put pressure on the state government to come to our aid, refused to assist us. They left like that, telling us to meet with the Rivers State Governor, who had placed a bounty on the man, to pay us.

What do you intend to do to get the bounty from the Rivers State Governor?

We are just confused; we don’t know what to do. We are just praying that God should send somebody that will help us out of this problem that we are in. The governor promised to pay N20m for each of the cult members that were declared wanted; there were about five of them and the person in question here is number 5 on the list; his name is Kingsley, aka Tompolo.

I know you are speaking from your hideout; why are you hiding?

I have received several calls; one of them (callers) even asked if I was still at the place where I used to live, and I told him that I had relocated to Abuja. On the last interview that I granted a national daily, the man at the Anti-Cultism Unit called me and told me that he saw the publication, and threatened that if I ever mentioned his name again, he would track me down and sue me for defamation; I mean, the head of Anti-Cultism Unit in Rivers State. He said that if the government promised me money, I should just go and meet the government and collect the money and never mention his name again regarding this matter.

The men of the Anti-Cultism Unit told us that they tracked down the guy three times, but could not arrest him. They added that they were also investigating the guy for killing two Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad members in Omoku, Rivers State and burning their vehicle, among other crimes.

What would you tell the governor if you had the opportunity to meet him?

If I had the opportunity to meet the governor, I would be able to defend myself and say everything I know about the matter.

What if you are lucky to get the bounty, what will you do with it?

I will invest the money because I have lost my job as an N-power beneficiary and where I live now, I am not too secure; even my elder brother has lost his accommodation. We had to run away from where we were before. So, we are thinking of how to get ourselves to do one business or the other and move away from where we are currently staying.

What is your message to the police on this matter?

The police have to protect patriotic Nigerians like us and also try as much as possible to be friendly with us and share our problems too. Regarding this issue, the police left us to be doing this alone; something that we are doing for the benefit of society. People are now talking about community policing, but if it comes to stay, is this the way the police would abandon the innocent people when they give them information without considering their safety or rewarding them as a way of encouraging them?

Do you have any advice for cult members, kidnappers and other criminals making the lives of law-abiding citizens in Nigeria difficult?

My advice to cult members and kidnappers is that they should leave all these bad things and embrace peace. All these bad things don’t pay, but integrity and hard work will be beneficial to them. If you are looking for money in a way that is not right, at the end of the day, you will put yourself in danger. They should put down all their arms and ammunition and embrace peace.

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