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Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has said while he does not support the Indigenous People of Biafra, it should not be confused with dislike for Igbo people.
Wike spoke during an AIT current affairs programme on Monday while addressing the issue of the EndSARS protests.
He said the protest was hijacked by hoodlums in the state, especially at Oyigbo Local Government where members of the IPOB allegedly killed and destroyed properties.
The Governor expressed support for the EndSARS protests but condemn the hijack by criminal elements.
Speaking on the proscribed IPOB in Rivers State and the Oyigbo Crisis, the governor said the narrative had been twisted by people who mischievously interpret his actions in Oyigbo as hatred for the Igbo race.
He stated: “IPOB have used Oyigbo as a launching ground. The problem I have with Nigeria is that they forget things easily. Oyigbo didn’t start suffering from IPOB today.
“Today they are saying I am killing people in Oyigbo because I banned IPOB for killing six Army men, four police officers, burnt Police stations in the LGA and court.
“You know when you kill an army, they don’t just keep quiet. I don’t have the power to stop the army from tracing the culprits of the killings in Oyigbo.
“I only mandated the security agencies to prosecute any IPOB meetings, gatherings and activities in Rivers State as I have banned all of such activities. I am not supporting IPOB and I know all the South Eastern Governors are not in support of it either.
“Who is IPOB? Who are they representing? No responsible Governor will sit down and allow such group destroy your state.
The funds we are about giving out to the bereaved families of the Army and Police would have been used for more developmental works in the state.
“People saying I hate the Igbos and all of that is mere talk. Why will I hate the igbos? With due respect, how will I hate igbos, it’s unthinkable. We are together, we have worked together and I have them as brothers.
“But if you say I hate igbos because I banned a deadly group over the destruction they have caused in my state I will not accept that.
“I know who is doing all of this. I know who is sending them to say Wike hates igbos. All of this is just to tarnish my image because I personally have a relationship with the igbos.
“But one thing I want to tell him is he will not succeed with his plots to tarnish my image as Rivers State Governor.
“I made a promise to give 200million to the bereaved family and the Army. And the cash will be given to them today through the Secretary to the State Government.
The Governor also revealed that IPOB members have been killing their own brothers too.
“Now one of the police officers killed is an Igbo man because he is an officer who was going to work. Now tell me, why do I hate igbos when even the alleged IPOB’s are the ones killing their acclaimed brothers. If I hate them will I give such sum to help the family.
Why will I kill the igbos in Oyigbo and not kill those in Port Harcourt.
“For the Police Stations that were burnt. I have told the police to give the cost while the state government views and approves so the work will commence.
“I dare any IPOB member, be it here in Nigeria or abroad you cannot harass or intimidate me. They have been sending me series of texts from abroad that I shouldn’t think of traveling abroad.
“I am not Ekweremadu they harassed so they should never dare me,” Wike said.
Last week, the Governor signed an executive order to reinforce the ban on Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and its activities in the State.
“This is clearly a terrorist group whose existence, creed, mission, and activities are strongly denounced even by the Government and peoples of South-Eastern States of the country. I have therefore signed the executive order to reinforce the total ban on IPOB and its activities in Rivers State or any part thereof and nothing will stop us from enforcing this ban in its entirety,” he said.
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