The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has warned that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) is trying to push Igbo people into another civil war.
Governor made the assertion during a meeting with South-East Governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community with Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Kelvin Ebiri, the Special Assistant (Media) to Wike said the meeting was convened in reaction to the rumours that the Governor has been chasing Igbo people out of Rivers State in the wake of Oyigbo crisis.
Umahi who said the Igbo leaders 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 said their finding has proved that the claim is not true otherwise.
After listening to Wike’s narration of the atrocious activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of curfew in the entire Local Government, Umahi warned Igbo people 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 finds it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to foist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people.
According to him, Igbo leadership are opposed to this stance by IPOB.
Umahi, who revealed that he has huge investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers State in order to continue to live and do business in the State peaceful.
According to him, Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.
Speaking earlier, Wike said the state will continue to be home to people of the Igbo ethnic nationality, but for members of outlawed IPOB.
“Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbo people. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. Igbo 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”.
Also speaking, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting has 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 stated that every governor desires peace to govern and Governor Wike is no exception. He stressed that the people of the State endorse 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.