Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
The former Niger Delta war lord, Ateke Tom has warned the faceless newly formed Niger Delta Avengers to stop causing more harm to the region through their criminal activities, saying that attack on oil installations would only bring pains and suffering to the people of the region.
Ateke, while condemning the activities of the Avengers whom he described as desperate criminals said no Niger Delta youths would support any criminal act in the region.
The Okrika High Chief spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital while reacting on the activities of the Avengers and the effect on the people of Niger Delta.
He regretted that if the group continues with their criminal activities it would once again expose women and children in the region to serious hardship, adding that he is ready and willing to offer assistance to the Federal government to negotiate with the Avengers if the group is ready for peace.
He called on the security agencies to fish out the criminals and prosecute them in line with the law if they refused to lay down their arms and unmasked themselves as responsible citizens.
Ateke said: “As one of the peace ambassadors in this region, I want to state it clear that any responsible Niger Delta youths would not support the criminal act being perpetrated by the so-called Niger Delta Avengers. I condemned in totality the activities of this frustrated, faceless and desperate masked group called the Avengers.
“I am also pleading with the ex-war lords not to use the issue of the avengers to hit up the polity by causing trouble in the region, either by name calling or by insulting our elders and chiefs. Bombing and destroying our oil installations and government properties in the region is only exposing children and women to another hardship.
“I want to call on the elders and chiefs in this region to talk to their children; there is no gain in violence and trouble making. We must see ourselves as one and learn how to support the government at the centre whether we are in support of it or not. In my state I have since started sensitization campaign against kidnapping and vandalism.”