The National Field in the Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State last Wednesday was filled to the brim as guests from across the nation came to witness the 5th High Chief Ateke Tom’s Amnesty day and 54th Anniversary of Nigeria Independence celebrations. The ceremony which was organized by High Chief Ateke Tom, former freedom fighter, warlord and leader of the defunct Niger Delta Vigilante Force was to mark the 5th year of amnesty declaration for some Niger Delta ex-militants and 54th Independence anniversary of Nigeria and dignitaries include Nollywood Stars Pete Edochie, Nkem Owo; aka Osofia, John Okafor aka Mr. Ibu, Patience Uzorkwor Mama G, Zack Orji, Walter Anga Chinyere Wilfred among others.
Also in the roll call were reggae stars Rasky Mono, Blacky, Oris Wilcky, Majesk Fashack.
Others include traditional rulers from Rivers Ijaw extractions, international association of world peace Advocates led by its spokesman Amb. Emmanuel Nkweke among others.
In his address High Chief Amb. Ateke Tom who emphasized that since 54 years ago, Nigeria has been consolidating her independence and carrying out the functions and responsibilities that go with the new proud status, continued and destined by her size, resources and tradition of laws and order to play a leading role on the continent and beyond making her worthy contributions to the task of raising the status of man in and making the world a better place to live. Ateke Tom recalled how he struggled for amnesty after several gun shot among militant groups.
According to him, “I wrote to the then Governor of Rivers, Barr. Omehia Celestine in August 2007 requesting for amnesty in response to an offer of rehabilitation the government has offered to militants group who surrendered pointing out that on 1st October, 2009, during the 49th Nigeria independence anniversary, he willingly surrendered to Late President Musa Yar’Adua at Aso Rock Abuja, a president jet was sent to fly him to Abuja and President Yar’Adua said “Today Chief Tom Ateke you have given me my 49th independence anniversary gift and cherish it so much” pointing out that the title High Chief Ateke Michael Tom was formally vested on him by Late President Musa Yar’Adua.
In a chat with journalists at the ceremony Amb. Emmanuel Nkweke the spokesman of the International Association of World Peace Advocates who spoke on behalf of members of the association described Ateke celebration of Amnesty day as a decision in the right direction considering the fact that he is operating on presidential mandate to maintain peace in the Niger Delta which has gone a long way in the increase of the oil production in the region as it was started that the panacea for development is peace.
Amb. Nkweke who congratulated High Chief Ateke for keeping his faith in promoting peace in the state from 2009 till date stressed that it is part of the association’s mission to always collaborate with such persons that embrace peace not only for Nigeria but for global achievements, it is necessary to partner with such personality hence the association came to grace the ceremony. ###
Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor