Ateke Tom
Governor Wike poses with the new Amanyanabo of Okochiri town, HRM King Ateke Michael Tom/Facebook.

A traditional ruler in Rivers State and former Niger Delta agitator, His Royal Majesty, Ateke Tom, has distanced himself from arms-bearing youths.

He was reacting to an online video clip posted by a militant group calling on him to make peace between it and the leaders in Akwa Ibom State.

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Speaking on Sunday, Ateke Tom described as criminals those using arms to draw government’s attention to some issues rather than embracing the option of dialogue.

The former agitator also called on government to desist from negotiating with criminals, insisting that any group that bears arms should be regarded as a criminal group.

He 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 as enemies of the society to cause crisis in communities. The time for using arms to get attention is over.

“If there is misunderstanding, the youths should approach the right channel to settle their problems.”

Ateke Tom also charged security agencies to fish out and investigate those in the video clip.

“Those youths are criminals and should be investigated, fished out arrested and prosecuted for causing panic in the society through their unlawful activities,” the monarch said.