The Amayanabo of Okochiri Town in Okrika, King Ateke Tom has filed a suit at the state High Court in Port Harcourt against 8 APC chieftains, who he claims slandered him during their December 11 pro-SARS rally in Port Harcourt. The rally held on the same day a nationwide protest was planned to compliment the #EndSARS online campaign. It had a group of APC leaders in Rivers State alongside hundreds of Youths marching along Aba Road, holding up some inscriptions that canvassed support for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rivers State. They claimed that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike was intentionally sponsoring a campaign against security agents for political gain. They also claimed the Governor was rewarding criminals with traditional titles. One of the inscriptions which read “Gov. Wike is making criminals kings and attacking security agents” had the photo of Governor Wike with Ateke Tom, a former militant leader, who got pardoned during the 2007 Federal Government Amnesty programme for militants in the Niger Delta.

The suit read “On the 11th day of December, 2017 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the defendants falsely and maliciously wrote and published or caused to be written and published of and concerning the claimant in the way of his office as a second-class traditional ruler recognised by the Rivers State government in the form of written banner wherein his picture was displayed in his traditional regalia beside that of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Chief Nyesom Wike, with the following inscriptions on it: GOV. WIKE IS MAKING CRIMINALS KINGS AND ATTACKING SECURITY AGENTS.”

Those who were mentioned in the suit are the Deputy Governorship Candidate of APC in the 2015 Elections, Asita O. Asita; the Labour party Guber candidate in the 2015 elections, Tonye Princewill; Rivers State APC Chairman, Davis Ikanya; APC Secretary in the state, Emeka Bekee. Others are; Samson Ngeribara, Sekonte Davies, Lawrence Chukwu, and Dumo Lulu Briggs.

The suit which is yet to be assigned to a court, is seeking that the court compels the defendants to issue and apology in three widely read newspapers, and to jointly or severally pay the sum pf One Billion Naira as compensation for damages done to his character.