Former Niger Delta militant leader, Chief Ateke Tom, has dismissed speculations that he is dead as falsehood, declaring that he is alive. Ateke said on Friday that he was hale and hearty, adding that those spreading the rumour about his death were enemies who detested him.

But there had been speculations since Wednesday that the former leader of the defunct Niger Delta Vigilante had died in a hospital outside the country.

Ateke, speaking through his media aide, Mr. Ifeanyi Ogbonna, expressed sadness that some people could spread such “wicked rumour” for no reason.

The Okirika-born strong man explained that he had never left Okrika for some years now, and had never suffered any major illness that would warrant him to travel abroad.

“High Chief Ateke Tom is alive; he is hale and hearty. He is in Okrika (his home town) and he has been there for some years now and has never travelled abroad.

“He has never complained of ill-health to anybody, I don’t know why anybody would be spreading such rumour. As I speak, the man is strong,” he stressed.