The traditional ruler of Okochiri Community in Okrika local government area of Rivers State, King Ateke Michael Tom, has told youths of the Niger Delta region that days of using arms to agitate for justice, peace and equity were over in the region.
He declared that youths who use arms to seek for government attention as criminals and advised that coordinated dialogue should be employed by aggrieved parties in resolving pressing issues
Ateke, who was an ex-agitator spoke at his palace in Okochiri yesterday while reacting to a video clip released on the social media by a militant group in Akwa Ibom State, seeking the monarch to broker peace between them and leaders of their state.
While calling on the government not to negotiate with the criminals, the monarch noted that every group that bears arms and wants government’s attention is a criminal group and should be treated as such, adding that days of using guns to get attention was over.
He called for an investigation into the released video, adding that he perceives the clip has had a political undertone to denigrating and rubbish individuals it is targeted at.
Ateke said, “Ordinarily, I would not have given attention to the clip as I do not identify with criminals, but for the sake of records and integrity.
I wish to state that I do not know the hoodlums in that video. As a peace ambassador who ensures peace, love and development among youths, communities and the leaders, I don’t associate with arms bearing individuals.
“I call on the youths not to allow themselves to be used enemies of the society to cause crisis in communities. The time for using arms to get attention is over. If there is misunderstanding the youthes should approach the right channel to settle their problems.”
“Those youths are criminals and should be investigated, fished out arrested and prosecuted for causing panic in the society through their unlawful activities.”
He, however, noted that he would continue to be law abiding and work with security operatives to go after criminals and ensure absolute peace and security in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.