Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that the state will continue to be home to people of Igbo ethnic nationality.
Governor Wike provided the security during a meeting with the governors of the southeast, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community in the state at Government House, Port Harcourt, on Sunday.
The governor said that in the wake of the Oyigbo crisis, people spread a rumor that he is chasing Igbos out of Rivers State, which is not true because the state has a long-standing relationship with Igbos.
“Tell your people, the people of Rivers will continue to live alongside the Igbos. Don’t let your children tell you lies. Igbos are innovative and hardworking. There can be no Nigeria without Igbos. No one should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you should allow criminals to spoil your name.
“If I hate Igbos, I will not appoint your son to my state cabinet twice. But you have to obey the rules. Don’t let criminals impose on you.”
Southeastern Governors Forum chairman and Ebonyi state governor Dave Umahi warned Igbos to be wary of the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) because the outlaw group is trying to instigate another civil war.
He said they were in Rivers State to verify the veracity of the news circulating on social media about the alleged murder of Igbo people living in the state. According to him, his findings have shown otherwise.
Umahi after hearing Governor Wike’s account of the heinous activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of a curfew on the entire local government, warned the Igbos to distrust IPOB as the group was hell-bent on instigating another war that would result in the murder of Igbo people.
The governor said he finds it nauseating that IPOB can go to Benue and Rivers State to raise their flag and claim that the territories belong to the Igbo people. According to him, Igbo leaders oppose this position of IPOB.
Umahi, who revealed that she has a large investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the state to respect the government and people of Rivers State so that they can continue to live and do business in the state peacefully. According to him, Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.
Also speaking, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chairman General Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting has reinforced the existing affinity between the Igbos and the people of the Niger Delta.
He described Governor Wike as an advocate for restructuring Nigeria and a man who loves justice.
He explained that the Igbos leadership cannot stand by while a misguided few who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the embers of disunity.
Nwodo said he was delighted to hear from Igbo leaders that, under Governor Wike’s leadership, Igbo businesses have continued to prosper.
Former Rivers State Governor Dr. Peter Odili praised the Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and the decision to visit Governor Wike.
He said that every governor wants peace to rule and Governor Wike is no exception. He stressed that the people of the State support all the measures taken by Governor Wike to ensure lasting peace in the State.
Present at the meeting were Abia State Governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Anambra State Deputy Governor Dr. Nkem Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Other dignitaries are the Lieutenant Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former Rivers State Governor Sir Celestine Omehia; the president of the Council of Traditional Rulers of the State of Rivers and Amanayanabo de Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, the National President of the Popular Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, among others.