Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, yesterday, charged the 23 council chairmen and youths to fish out members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the state.
The governor warned that any council chairman that allowed IPOB to hold processions and hoist its flag in their domain in the state risked being sacked.
He made the declaration at a meeting with all the chairmen, Community Development Committees (CDCs), and youth leaders at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike described Rivers State as the most accommodating state, insisting that there had not been any historical incident of different ethnic groups clashing in the state, as witnessed in other parts of the country.
“We can never be against any ethnic group. We have lived in harmony with the Igbo, the Hausa, Edo people, and everybody that comes to this state. And so, Nigerians must commend Rivers as a state that never had problems with any group,” he said.
The governor, however, maintained that while Rivers people believe in Nigeria’s unity, they would not allow criminals under the aegis of IPOB to continue to threaten the stability of the state.
Angered by IPOB’s effrontery to hoist its flag in Oyigbo Council Area, Wike directed the council chairman to ensure that members of the group were not allowed to embark on any treasonable acts in the state.
“They destroyed the court in Oyigbo, killed and burnt soldiers and policemen and you say people should sit, fold their hands and watch them continue to unleash mayhem in the state?
“IPOB members should not delude themselves because Rivers State cannot be colonized or annexed by any group, particularly while I am still governor,” he said.
Urging vigilance on the part of Rivers people, he, however, warned that the state could not be annexed to any state or zone, stressing that the state would remain in the Niger Delta region.
He explained that while Nigerians are allowed to reside in Rivers State, those who wish to do so must live in peace with the people, adding, “The Igbo are living and doing business here and they will continue to live and do their business here. We support that. But IPOB cannot determine what happens in Rivers. It will never happen and we must not allow it to happen.”
Governor Wike charged the council chairmen, youth leaders, CDCs to go to their communities and identify all IPOB members, stressing, however, Igbo residing and doing legitimate business in the state must be harassed.
“But there are criminal elements that we must not allow and the criminal elements are the IPOB members. The Federal Government has proscribed them and I have proscribed them,” he said.