Governors from the Southeast rose from a crucial meeting with their Rivers counterparts, Nyesom Wike on Sunday night with a warning to Igbo people, especially owners of businesses to beware of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Governors were led to the meeting, which held in Government House, Port Harcourt by the Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum David Umahi of Ebonyi.
The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, led other prominent members of the socio-cultural group to the meeting convened following the bloodletting allegedly committed by IPOB members under the guise of #EndSARS protests.
Umahi warned Igbos to be wary of IPOB, saying the outlawed group was trying to instigate another civil war.
He said they were in Rivers to ascertain the veracity of the reports circulating in the social media over alleged killing of Igbo people in the state.
He, however, said they found out the the claims Igbos were being killed in Rivers were false.
Umahi said after listening to Wike’s narration of the atrocious activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of curfew in the entire Local Government, it became imperative for Igbos to distance themselves from IPOB.
The Governor said he found it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to hoist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people.
He said Igbo leadership were opposed to the stance by IPOB.
Umahi, who revealed that he had huge investment in Rivers, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers to continue living and doing business peacefully.
Nwodo said the meeting reinforced the existing affinity between Igbos and the people of Niger Delta.
He described Wike as a champion of restructuring of Nigeria and a man who loved justice.
He explained the leadership of Igbos could not remain aloof while some misguided few, who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the ember of disunity.
Nwodo said he was elated to hear from Igbo leaders that under the leadership of Wike Igbo businesses had continued to thrive.
Former Rivers Governor, Dr Peter Odili, lauded the Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and decision to visit Wike.
He stated that every Governor desires peace to govern adding that Wike was not an exception.
He stressed that Rivers residents endorsed every measure taken by Governor Wike to ensure lasting peace in the state.
Wike declared the state would continue to be home to people of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality.
The Governor said in the wake of the Oyigbo crisis, people peddled the rumour that he was chasing Igbos out of Rivers, saying it was not true because the state had an enduring relationship with the Igbos.
He said: “Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbos. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. Igbos are innovative and hardworking. There can’t be Nigeria without Igbos. Nobody should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you must allow criminals to spoil your name.
“If I hate Igbos, I won’t appoint your son into my state cabinet two times. But you have to obey rules. Don’t allow criminals to dictate to you”.
Present at the meeting were Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu; Deputy Anambra Governor Nkem Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
Other dignitaries are: Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia; the chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja and National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, among others.