Ateke Tom is the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, an ethnic Ijaw militia in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In August 2007 following days of gun fights between various militia groups and security forces in Port Harcourt, Ateke Tom wrote to the Governor, Celestine Omehia, requesting for amnesty in response to an offer of clemency and rehabilitation the government had offered to militia who surrendered.
On 1 October 2009, the 49th anniversary of Nigerian independence and three days before the closing of a government amnesty program, Tom willingly surrendered to President Musa Yaradua at the Government House, Abuja. The presidential jet was sent to fly Tom to Abuja, and the President stated that "Today, Chief Tom Ateke you have given me my 49th independence anniversary gift and I cherish it so much." Also present at the surrender were Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Defence, Gen Godwin Abbe, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike and the National Security Adviser, Sarki Mukta among others.