Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
Niger Delta ex-militant leader, High Chief Ateke Tom, has said he did not groom criminals during his days in the creeks as a freedom fighter.
Ateke, the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, (NDV) maintained that he only trained his boys to key into the struggle for the liberation of the oil rich region from the marginalization of oil companies and the Federal Government.
Speaking through his media aide, Mr. Ifeanyi Ogbonna, while reacting to a report that a criminal suspect in a Police custody allegedly confessed that he was trained by Ateke, the NDV leader stressed that criminality is not part of his struggle.
The ex-agitator distanced himself from the alleged kidnapper, noting that the said suspect was never his boy during and after the struggle.
Ateke said: “My attention has been drown to a report that one Zakeri Isiaka a native of Odu-Ochelle in Dekina local government area of Kogi State, who is in police custody for armed robbery, kidnapping, political thuggery and other criminal related offences is my boy and was with me during the Niger delta struggle.
“I have never met him, during or after the struggle. My boys, during and after the struggle, are not into criminality but we were focused on good aim and objectives of the struggle which is to end exploitation against the region.
“After the amnesty, we laid down our arms and focused on working with the government. Zakeri Isiaka should stop using my name in his criminal life. You can’t claim to know me and indulge in criminality.”
Ateke, however, urged youths of Nigerian to shun crime and work for peace, security stability and development of the nation.