Charles Nwoke, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Nyesom Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, says two bigwigs of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) involved in the killing of six soldiers and four policemen in Oyigbo, have been apprehended by security operatives.
He insists that the imposition of curfew in Oyigbo Local Government Area helped to prevent an outbreak of inter-ethnic war between Igbo and Hausa communities in the area.
The Governor stated this when Rotary District 9141 Governor, Mrs. Virginia Major led a delegation of Rotarians on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
He revealed that security operatives late hours of yesterday arrested two prominent members of IPOB in Oyigbo.
Governor Wike explained that Rivers State was peaceful during the EndSARS protest, until criminals, under the guise of IPOB attempted to paint the State black by killing ten security agents in Oyigbo.
He noted that while Rivers State has been home to every ethnic and religious group, some misguided IPOB members have taken this for granted by unleashing mayhem on Oyigbo people and even attempted to cause inter-tribal war.
“If we did not take the steps we took by imposing curfew in Oyigbo, today, it would have been the Hausa and Igbo that would have been fighting and nobody knows what level it would have taken today,” he said.
The Governor said though he has had frosty relationships with the Nigerian Army and the Police, he will, however, never tolerate the killing of any soldier or police in the State.
“I will not support criminality. I won’t because the soldiers don’t like me, then you go and kill them. And then, I will come out and clap, and thank you for killing the soldiers; and also, thank you for killing the police,” he said.
He urged those spreading falsehoods that Igbo people are being killed and punished in Oyigbo to be dispassionate when acts of criminality are committed. According to him, if IPOB members did not kill people and destroyed properties, governments would not have had any justification to declare curfew in the council.
“No government will wake up in the morning to impose hardship on its people. No government will do that, but governments have the right to protect lives,” he said.
Governor Wike lauded Rotary International for collaborating with the government to Kick out polio in Nigeria. He assured the Rotarians that his administration will sustain the campaign against polio.
District 9141 Governor, Virginia Major, lauded Governor Wike for the manner he handled the well-intentioned EndSARS protection, which was almost hijacked by miscreants.
She noted that while the world was facing a COVID-19 pandemic of unimaginable proportions, Governor Wike and his colleagues and the Federal Government did not relent in their collective efforts to support polio immunization at all levels.
“This led to the ultimate certification of Nigeria and by extension, Africa as free of the wild poliovirus on August 2, 2020, by the World Health Organisation, WHO,” she said.
He urged the Governor to use his position to support all the renewed efforts of Government, Rotary, and all its strategic partners in their quest for sustained surveillance, awareness, immunization, and, of course, keeping polio at zero.