Tom Ateke, a former militant, has denied the report that he endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari.

He denied ever taking part in partisan politics, stressing that he did not at any time support the president’s reelection bid.

In a statement made available to SaharaReporters, Ateke said it is not in his character to “cheapen” himself for such purpose.

“My attention has been drawn to an online publication in some media outlets, Premium Times in particular, that I, King Ateke Michael Tom, Sekuro of Niger Delta, Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, has endorsed the candidature of President Buhari.

“I want to state here that there is no element of truth in the said publication. It is never in my character to cheapen myself to such act for the purpose of anything. More so, as a traditional ruler loved and respected by my people, I will not betray the respect and love they have for me on the altar of partisan politics, let alone endorsing a candidate.

“My disposition as a traditional ruler is to advise my people and indeed my millions of admirers to stay out of violence and peacefully cast their votes for their preferred candidates in this election.

“I am directly using this medium to warn the author and all those behind this misleading publication to desist from it. I am advising politicians to be mindful of jobbers who would stop at nothing to fill their pockets, and media outlets should also be professional enough to verify claims from sources before publishing.

“I also use this medium to draw the attention of Nigerians and the international community to be aware of the Nigeria army's unprovocative intimidation and militarization in my kingdom.

“Today, at about 12noon, almost fifty truckloads of soldiers besieged my palace and home. This is unacceptable. I call on the Nigerian Army to play by the rules of the game, because their militarization is causing panic and fear around Okrika, which has been adjudged as the most peaceful Local Government Area (LGA) in the country.”

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