…Blame FG, IPoB leader, Wike for outbreak of violence in Rivers — Igbo youths
…Wike clarifies position
By Dennis Agbo & Peter Okutu
President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and the group’s former youth leader, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, yesterday, said the continued massacre of innocent Igbo residents in Oyigbo, Rivers State, was a threat to South East, South South relationship as they blamed the federal government, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu for the violence that erupted in area.
Chief Nwodo in his reaction to the unabating killings of the Igbo in Rivers State, disclosed that the governors of South East have made arrangement to meet with Governor Wike on the matter. Nwodo, however, blamed the situation on the unguarded statements made by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, particularly in Rivers State.
On the degenerating situation in Oyigbo, the President General said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is seriously disturbed about the degenerating situation in Oyigbo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The misdemeanors of some rampaging youths of both South South and South East origin and the inciting mindless and provocative statements made from abroad by the Leader of IPOB which inflamed passions on all sides have landed us in a regrettable situation.
“Pictures on the social media portray very inhuman and degrading treatment meted out on innocent Igbos in Oyigbo.
“Ohanaeze regrets that the friendly and cordial relationship which existed between Igbos and our kit and kin in Rivers State is threatened by this development. So also is the threat to our solidarity with PANDEF and the entire people of the South South region of Nigeria.
“We are in consultation with the chairman of the South East Governors Forum, Gov Dave Umahi who has kindly volunteered to arrange a meeting between us, Igbo leaders and the governor of Rivers State to arrest further drift of this dangerous development.
“Innocent Igbos in Rivers State who are caught in between this sad development and whose lives and livelihood are threatened by it are assured that help is on the way and that Igbo leaders will never abandon them.”
Blame FG, IPOB leader, Wike for outbreak of violence in Rivers—Igbo youths
In his statement yesterday, the former Ohanaeze youth leader, Isiguzoro and the former Secretary General, Okwu Nnabuike, reminded Governor Wike that there was burning of police stations,courts, killing of military personnel and police officers and destruction of public properties in other parts of the country, especially in major southeast cities like Aba, Nnewi, Abakiliki, Enugu, Onitsha, Owerri but none of the governors of these states ordered military actions against their people.
“Wike as chief security officer of Rivers State will surely account for the loss of lives and brutalities in Obigbo in the near future as international human rights groups and activists are gathering information and evidences of genocidal violence escalating in Obigbo, Rivers State.
“Ohanaeze youth vehemently oppose the 24hr curfew placed on Obigbo with heavy military actions and onslaughts against the people which have continuously abused their fundamental human rights in Obigbo.
“The people have been denied access to food, adequate medicare and water because the Rivers State government unleashed state machinery against IPOB over what we perceived as relationship gone sour between Governor Nyesom Wike and IPOB Leadership led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu”, the youth leaders said.
They further said they had studied keenly the development and buildup of Obigbo violence especially the IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s utterances and claims that he worked and installed Wike as governor of Rivers State, which showed that IPOB activities and protests in Rivers had been peaceful in the last three years.
“We had expected Governor Nyesom Wike to respond to these allegations and claims of Nnamdi Kanu installing him as Rivers State Governor. He should be man enough to clear his name and explain why it took Rivers State Government three years to proscribe the activities of IPOB in Rivers State and hope it is not a case of relationship gone sour?
“Wike should emulate Asari Dokubo and explain if there was any relationship with Nnamdi Kanu in the past and stop shifting responsibility”.
The youth leaders also flayed Nnamdi Kanu for making inciting utterances which led to escalation of violence in the area.
“Nnamdi Kanu’s EndSars video and audio clips are enough evidences indicting him of inciting violence in Obigbo, Rivers State with unimaginable deaths and inhuman conditions that the people of the area now suffer.
“IPOB’ ‘s placing of N100m bounty on Governor Wike is a clear deviation from peaceful approach to self determination and non-violent stance of Biafra agitation. Igbo youths hold both Wike and Kanu responsible for the violence escalating in Obigbo”, the youth leaders stated.
They further called for immediate ceasefire talks between Governor Nyesom Wike and IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
“There is established evidence that if both sides should stop this show of force, Ndígbo and, indeed, all Nigerians living in Obigbo will breathe fresh air and normalcy will return immediately. We are confident that both sides will surely accept this plea of Igbo youths in the interest of peace.
“When two elephants fight, the grass suffers, when two friends fight, Obigbo people suffer. Let there be suspension of military action in Obigbo in the next 48hrs as we are engaging religious leaders, former Presidents and Heads of States to join the youth to pressurize both Governor Wike and Nnamdi Kanu for a peaceful resolution of the crisis”, they stated.
I never ordered military to kill Igbo in Oyigbo—Wike
It should be recalled that Governor Wike had countered the allegation against him, saying he never ordered the military to kill Igbo in Oyibo, describing the allegation as balderdash and politically motivated.
The governor had stated that the curfew imposed on Oyigbo was to restore calm in the area after members of the IPOB killed six soldiers, four policemen and destroyed all police stations and court buildings in the area.
Wike who gave the explanation on a live television programme in Port Harcourt, argued that the narrative that Igbo were being killed by the military is intended to shift attention from the despicable activities of IPOB in Oyigbo, which is a boundary area adjoining Abia State. He said: “I know that this is not the first time IPOB has used Oyigbo as launching ground. The security agencies are aware. IPOB added a new dimension this time. They killed six Army officers and burnt one. They killed four Police Officers. They destroyed all the Police stations and court buildings. What offence did we commit as a state?
“I imposed curfew to restore calm. I proscribed IPOB activities anywhere in the state. Don’t forget that the Federal Government had declared them a terrorist group. It is not the entire Igbo that believe in IPOB activities.
“So, it’s not true that I ordered the military to kill Igbo in Oyigbo. When did I become a friend to the military? What about the Igbo living elsewhere in the state, are they also being killed? I have no relationship with the Army or the Police, I do not command them. They change Commissioner of Police every time. How will I begin to direct the Army that I do not give instruction?”
Wike clarifies position, reviews curfew
But yesterday, the Rivers State Security Council sat and reviewed the curfew in Oyigbo LGA. From today November 4th, the curfew in Oyigbo LGA will be from 7pm to 6am. The security council however, agreed that effort to recover over 50 riffles stolen from burnt Police stations and killed security personnel would be maintained.