Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Tuesday said two kingpins of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) involved in the killings of six soldiers and four policemen in Oyigbo, were arrested by security operatives.
The governor insisted that the steps he took including imposition of curfew in Oyigbo Local Government Area helped to prevent an outbreak of war between Igbo and Hausa communities in the area.
A statement signed by the governor’s Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said Wike spoke when Rotary District 9141 Governor, Mrs. Virginia Major led a delegation of Rotarians to visit him at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He said the suspects were arrested Monday evening
explaining that Rivers State was peaceful during the EndSARS protest, until criminals, under the guise of IPOB attempted to paint the State black by killing 10 security agents in Oyigbo.
He said while Rivers had been home to every ethnic and religious groups, some misguided IPOB members, had taken this for granted by unleashing mayhem in Oyigbo and even attempted to cause inter-ethnic war.
He said: “If we did not take the steps we took by imposing curfew in Oyigbo, today, it would have been the Hausa and Igbo that will have been fighting and nobody knows what level it would have taken today.”
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The governor said though he had frosty relationship with Nigerian Army and the Police, he would never tolerate the killing of any solider or policeman 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, thank you for killing the soldiers. Thank you for killing the police,” he said.
He urged those spreading falsehood that Igbo people were being killed and punished in Oyigbo to be dispassionate in the face of deliberate acts of criminality.
He said if IPOB members had not killed people and destroyed properties, government 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 government has the right to protect life,” he said.
Wike lauded Rotary International for collaborating with government to kick out polio in Nigeria and assured the Rotarians that his administration would.sustain the campaign against polio.
In her remarks, District 9141 Governor, Virginia Major, lauded Wike for the manner he handled the EndSARS protest, which was almost hijacked by miscreants.
She noted that while the world was facing COVID-19 pandemic of unimaginable proportions, Wike, his colleagues and the Federal Government did not relent in their collective efforts to support polio immunisation at all levels.
“This led to the ultimate certification of Nigeria and by extension, Africa as free of the wild polio virus 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 the government, Rotary and all its strategic partners in their quest for sustained surveillance, awareness, immunisation and keeping polio at zero level.