FORMER militant leader, Chief Ateke Tom, has denied coming in contact with one Zakeri Isiaka, who was recently arrested by the police for armed robbery.
Ateke explained that members of his group were never involved in crime during and after the Niger Delta struggle and wondered why a suspected armed robber would claim that he was once a member of his group.
Zakeri Isiaka, a native of Odu-Ochella in Dekina LGA of Kogi State, who was nabbed for armed robbery and kidnapping, had claimed to be Ateke’s ‘boy’ during the Niger Delta struggle.
But Ateke said through a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Ifeanyi Ogbonna, that though he met a lot of persons during his days as a Niger Delta agitator, he had not met Isiaka.
“My attention has been drawn to Saturday Punch Newspaper and other social media publications of 5th November, 2016, 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 related offences, said he is my boy and was with me during the Niger Delta struggle.
“The guy’s face is not familiar. My boys even during and after the struggle are not into criminality but we were focused on the aims and objectives of the struggle which is the need for the Federal Government’s presence in our region.
“After the amnesty, we laid down our arms and focused on working with the government. During my days in the struggle, I met a lot of persons but for the said Zakeri Isiaka, I have never met him not to talk about knowing him,” the leader of the defunct Niger Delta Vigilantce group, said.
Ateke warned Isiaka and his likes to stop dropping his name, adding that he (Ateke) remained a man of peace and had nothing to do with crime.
The former agitator told Isiaka to face the consequences of his action, maintaining that those who believed in him will not take to crime.
“You can’t claim to know me (Ateke) and yet indulge in the life of criminality. He (Isiaka) should face the consequences of his action. Whoever believes me should shun crime and work for peace, stability and security of our environment,” he said.
Ateke also expressed the need for the protection of government property.