Chief Ateke Tom
By Ernest Chinwo
Former militant leader in the Niger Delta, Chief Ateke Tom, has alleged that some people were diverting relief materials meant for flood victims.
He condemned the act, stating that it was like stealing from the poor.
Tom, who spoke, at the weekend, at St. Paul’s Primary School in Ahaoda West Local Government Area of Rivers State shortly after donating materials worth millions of naira to flood victims in the area, urged the perpetrators to desist from diverting items donated to displaced people.
He said while it was possible for the perpetrators to escape the law, they would never escape God’s judgment, adding that it was better to assist the displaced persons with food and other necessary items than to steal from them.
Tom, who was represented by his brother, Mr. Richard Akinala, said: “Dubious people exist everywhere. You cannot take away unscrupulous human elements from every society. But I advise that it is necessary to be wary of stealing from the poor.
“When you divert what is given to the poor to survive, whatever prayer made in anger by the displaced poor people on the matter would be answered by God.
“You can’t take away food from a hungry man and expect him to be happy. Those diverting food items are supposed to give to the poor.
“It is bad to hear that those who are supposed to give to the poor are the same people taking the materials given to the poor, the ex-militant leader added.
He explained the spirit behind the donation of food items to the flood victims was based on the need to ease their sufferings and give them hope to live.
On the solution to future flood problems, Tom pleaded with the state government to open up canals and maintain existing ones.
Items donated by Tom include 50 bags of rice, eight bags of beans, 15 bags of salt, cartons of soap, 200 litres of palm oil and groundnut oil.
In her remarks, the Coordinator of the Camp, Mrs. Caroline Okpokiri, thanked the former militant leader for his kind gesture towards the displaced persons in Ahoada West.