Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State has dismissed social media reports that soldiers are killing residents of Oyigbo, in a house to house operation.
Mr Wike stated this on Monday while meeting with different ethnic nationalities, a statement authored by Kelvin Ebiri, his special assistant on Media, said.
“It is not correct that soldiers are going from house to house to kill. When the IPOB killed the Army officers, they took their guns. It is normal for them to recover those guns,” Mr Ebiri quoted his principal as saying during the meeting.
“In any case, there are consequences when soldiers are killed. Maybe they are retaliating in order to rebuild the moral of other soldiers. How can I now have such powers to order soldiers on any operation?
“Now, you carry propaganda that Wike is killing Igbos. They live everywhere in the state. So, am I also killing them elsewhere? No tribe gave us the kind of support Igbos gave to me, but that does not mean we should allow IPOB to destroy the state,” the governor added.
The statement said the Rivers State security council is to meet and review the situation in Oyigbo Local Government Area after members of proscribed Indigenous Peoples Organisations of Biafra (IPOB) killed ten security agencies and burnt court buildings.
Wike who reinstated the commitment of his administration to protect life and property of everybody in the state also dismissed insinuations that he ordered soldiers to kill Igbos in Oyigbo Local Government Area amidst the curfew imposed by the Security Council.
He explained that Security Council was compelled to impose curfew in Oyigbo to prevent further loss of life and property. According to him, there is no way he will order any offensive action against Oyigbo, which is where the chairman of Peoples Democratic Party in the state hails from.
The Governor declared that it will be absurd for IPOB to assume the role of speaking for the Igbos when there are credible and outstanding people who can speak for them. To this end, he warned against allowing IPOB to continue misrepresenting the Igbos ethnic nationality.
“Let IPOB not give Igbos bad name. Any people that allow a criminal to speak for them, that tribe is finished,” he said while charging residents of the State appalled by the nefarious activities of IPOB, to resist the group and whatever it stands for.
Explaining why curfew was imposed in the Ikokwu area of Port Harcourt, the Governor said the State security council took the decision following intelligence report that Ikokwu host to a lot of IPOB cells in the State capital.
He described the recent clash between Hausas and Igbos following IPOB instigated attacks against the former as unfortunate.
The Governor said while government is creating conducive environment that will promote business, social and cultural life of residents, they must also learn to live together without causing trouble.
“Any decision we take is for the good of everybody. It is not against any tribe. We have lived peacefully with people from other tribes. So stop fighting yourselves and creating the impression that there is war here. Don’t also make disagreements between business partners appear as tribal war. Allow them to settle the matter as businessmen.
“There is need for all of us to live in peace. From today, I don’t want to hear Igbo fighting Hausa. If there is any trouble, there is no need to take laws into your hands. Report the matter to us and we will address it,” he said.
Governor Wike announced the plan of government to rebuild the Slaughter-Oginigba Market in Trans-Amadi industrial layout in Port Harcourt and hand it over to competent people to manage.
He further enjoined cattle rustlers who are breeding cows to stop using them to destroy the farmland of others.
Governor Wike warned operators of illegal motor parks, street and rail line traders in the state to desist or be ready to face the wrath of government.
He also called on the Federal Government to give consideration to lessons learnt from the EndSARS protest.
“What has happened is a lesson for Nigeria. Don’t under rate the youths. It was a protest by intelligent and professional youths who have suffered enough.
“It is a signal and the youths as graduates are getting restless. Federal Government should ask, how do we use this opportunity to reduce unemployment. My executive council has taken action already to employ 5000 youths,” he added.