The mysterious sale of warships to an ex-Nigerian warlord – and why the UK let it happen


Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, is not a household name, but he was once among the most wanted men in Nigeria. After playing a leading role in a militant group that bombed oil pipelines and kidnapped employees of international companies in the oil-producing Niger Delta, Tompolo has been linked to attacks and atrocities across the region.

Between 2006-09, attacks perpetrated by Tompolo’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) saw oil production in Nigeria cut by a third, with dozens of foreign office workers being taken hostage and killed. Tompolo claims to have changed his ways, but at present he is wanted by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for charges of money laundering, conspiracy and theft.

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