Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has declared that the state will continue to be home to people of the Igbo Ethnic nationality.
Governor Wike gave the assurance during a meeting with South-East Governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community in the state at Government House, Port Harcourt on Sunday.
The governor said in the wake of the Oyigbo crisis, people peddled the rumour that he was chasing Igbos out of Rivers State “which is not true because the state has an enduring relationship with the Igbos.”
“Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbos. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. Igbos are innovative and hardworking. There can’t be Nigeria without Igbos. Nobody should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you must allow criminals to spoil your name.
“If I hate Igbos, I won’t appoint your son into my state cabinet two times. But you have to obey rules. Don’t allow criminals to dictate to you,” he said.
The Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has warned Igbos to be wary of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) because the outlawed group was trying to instigate another civil war.
He said they were in Rivers State to ascertain the veracity of the news circulating in the social media over alleged killing of Igbo people living in the State.
According to him, their findings had proved otherwise.
Umahi, after listening to Governor Wike’s narration of the atrocious activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of curfew in the entire Local Government, warned Igbos to be wary of IPOB as the group was bent on instigating another civil war that will result in the murder of Igbo people.
The governor said he found it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to foist its flag and claim the territories belonged to the Igbo people.
According to him, Igbo leaderships were opposed to this stance by IPOB.
Umahi, who revealed that he had huge investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers State in order for them to continue to live and do business in the State peaceful.
According to him, “Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.”
Also speaking, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting had reinforced the existing affinity between Igbos and the people of Niger Delta.
He described Governor Wike as a champion of restructuring of Nigeria and a man who loves justice.
He explained that the leadership of Igbos cannot remain aloof while some misguided few who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the ember of disunity.
Nwodo, said he was elated to hear from Igbo leaders that under the leadership of Governor Wike Igbo businesses have continued to thrive.
Former Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili, lauded the Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and decision to visit Governor Wike.
He said that every governor desired peace to govern and Governor Wike was no exception.
He stressed that the people of the State endorsed every measure taken by Governor Wike to ensure lasting peace in the State.
Present at the meeting were the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
Other dignitaries are Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia; the chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, among others.