The Amanyanabo of Okochiri community, King Ateke Tom, has declared that those using arms to attract government attention are criminals.He spoke yesterday in Okochiri, in Okrika Local Council Area of Rivers State, in reaction to a trending video clip.
A militant group in Akwa Ibom State, which asked the monarch to broker peace between it and their leaders, released the tape in the social media.Ateke, who was a former militant leader, implored governments at all levels not to negotiate with criminals.
He maintained that coordinated dialogue remains the panacea to resolving disputes among aggrieved parties.He said: “Every group that bears arms and wants government’s attention is a criminal gang. Such group should be treated as lawless, because gone are the days when guns were used to get attention.”
Ateke urged investigation into the video, alleging that it had a political undertone to tarnish the image of some individuals.He explained that he never knew the group, as he does not associate with arms-bearing individuals.He added that he is an ambassador of peace, love and development among youths, communities and leaders.
The ex-militant leader urged the youths not to allow themselves to be used by enemies of the society to cause crisis in communities. He advised them to use the right channel to settle their problems, and urged the security agents to arrest and prosecute them for causing panic through their unlawful activities.Ateke promised to continue to work with the security agencies to tame criminality in the Niger Delta and beyond.