Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has charged the 23 local government chairmen in the state to fish out members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples Organization of Biafra (IPOB) wherever they may be hiding in the State, vowing that the outlawed organisation will not be allowed to dictate what happens in the state.
The Governor warned that any council chairman that allows IPOB to hold processions and hoist its flag within their jurisdiction in Rivers State will be removed.
Wike handed down the warning during a meeting with the council chairmen, Community Development Committees, and youth leaders at the Government House, in Port Harcourt on Monday.
The Governor in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, described Rivers as the most accommodating state for all Nigerians, noting that there has never been any historical incident of different ethnic groups clashing in the State as has been witnessed in other parts of the country.
“We can never be against any ethnic group. We can never do that. We have lived in harmony with the Ibos, the Hausas, and Edo people. Everybody that comes to this state we have lived in harmony with. So Nigerians must commend Rivers State as a place where you have never had a problem between this group and that group,” he said.
Wike, however, maintained that while the people of Rivers State believed in the unity of the country, they will not allow criminals under the aegis of a terrorist group called IPOB to continue to threaten the stability of the state.
“There is one terrorist group they call IPOB. I did not declare them a terrorist group, the court declared them a terrorist group, not me. The federal government declared them a terrorist group. IPOB cannot use Rivers State to be a place where they will be launching attacks. If you allow that, your future, your children’s future is gone,” he told the gathering.
He expressed annoyance that IPOB planned to hoist its flag in Oyigbo and the governor directed the council chairman to ensure there will not be another occurrence of this treasonous act which was perpetrated there.
“Go to Oyigbo and see what they have done. They destroyed the court. What did the court do? See the soldiers they killed and burnt them. See the policemen they killed and burnt them and then you said people will sit and fold their arms?”
While calling for vigilance, he warned the IPOB members not to delude themselves because Rivers state cannot be colonised or annexed by any group, particularly, while he is still the governor of the State.
He asserted that Rivers state can never be annexed to any state or zone, pointing out that Rivers is Niger Delta and will remain part of the Niger Delta in Nigeria.
The Governor explained that while every Nigerian is allowed to reside in the state, those who wish to do so must live in peace and within the law with the people of the state.
“Ibos are living and doing their business here and they will continue to live and do their business here. We support that.
“But that terrorist group called IPOB cannot determine what happens in our state. To tell us where they own. It will never happen and we must not allow it to happen.”
He charged the council bosses, youth leaders, CDCs to go into their various communities and identify all those IPOB members, adding that nobody of Ibo extraction legitimately residing and doing business in the state must be harassed.