The Amanyanabo of Okochiri Community in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers State, His Royal Majesty, King Ateke Tom, said on Sunday that the era of the use of arms as an instrument of seeking government attention was over.
Ateke, who is a former Niger Delta agitator, described as criminals those using arms to draw government’s attention to some issues rather than embracing the option of dialogue.
The traditional ruler 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.
He pointed out that dialogue remained the best option for aggrieved persons to embrace in finding a lasting solution to any disagreement.
The monarch urged government to desist from negotiating with criminals, insisting that any group that bears arms should be regarded as a criminal group.
Ateke maintained that he could not identify the faces of members of the militant group in the video.
“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,” he said.
The monarch expressed the need for those in the video clip to be fished out and investigated, adding that the video clip was targeted at destroying people’s image.
He said, “Those youths are criminals and should be investigated, fished out arrested and prosecuted for causing panic in the society through their unlawful activities.”
Ateke pledged to continue to assist security operatives to fight crime and ensure the existence of peace in the Niger Delta.