Nigeria

Wike reinforces ban on IPOB activities in Rivers

Rivers State government in line with the proscription order of the Federal Government has reinforced a ban on activities of Indigenous Peoples Organization of Biafra (IPOB) in the state, saying no form of procession or agitation by the group or any of its affiliates is allowed to take place in the state henceforth.

In a statewide broadcast Friday night, the governor explained that state government reached the conclusion having observed that the activities of the banned IPOB are not just dangerous to lives and property, but also constitute a clear and present threat to the existential interest and aspirations of Rivers State and all its people.

“Security agencies are hereby directed to stop any form of procession or agitation by IPOB in Rivers State or any part thereof and arrest and prosecute any person or group that identifies with the membership or activities of IPOB in the state; Government will issue an executive order to strengthen and ensure the effective enforcement of these measures,” he said.

He disclosed that he would be meeting with all leaders of youth groups and community development committees in the state on Monday, 26th October 2020 to take holistic measures to counter and stop all IPOB activities in Rivers State;

Wike declared one Mr Stanley Mgbere wanted for leading members of the banned IPOB to cause the recent violence and destruction of lives and property in Oyigbo Local Government Area, and promised a bounty of N50 million to any person with useful information that would lead to his arrest and prosecution.

He recalled that since IPOB was classified as a terrorist organisation by the Federal High Court and subsequently proscribed in September 2017 by the Federal Government, the group has carried out intermittent processions in parts of Rivers State, especially in Oyigbo and some notorious suburbs in Port Harcourt Local Government Area.

According to him, IPOB aim had been to disturb the peace of the state by unleashing violence and destruction on lives and property at will.

The Rivers State Government, according to Wike, had severally pleaded, warned and even advised IPOB and its members to discontinue its insurrectional actions in Rivers State to no avail. Instead, IPOB unleashed another orgy of violence and destruction inflicted at Oyigbo Local Government Area and some parts of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday, 21st October 2020.

He said the evil, wicked and audacious action resulted in the unnecessary loss of scores of lives, including soldiers and police officers, and the destruction of both public and private property, including police stations, court buildings and business premises.

“Not done, members of the outlawed group also visited physical violence on members of some targeted community which, but, for the quick intervention of the State Government and the security agencies, would have resulted in some form of internecine bloodbath in the state”, he added.

Wike went on: “Today, IPOB continued with its devilish and destructive activities at Rumukwurushi, Iriebe and Oyigbo in open defiance of the State Government’s curfew on human movements. Security intelligence and surveillance have revealed that IPOB has continued to expand its membership drive, holding meetings regularly, and expanding its logistical base, including the maintenance of illegal detention cells in Emenike and other parts of Diobu, Port Harcourt.”

“As a matter of fact, Oyigbo town has practically become the group’s main operational base in Rivers State, from which they’ve become notorious for launching premeditated violence and terror on the state, businesses and innocent citizens. As a people, we have become very much unsettled by the terrorist acts and endured the continuing irritations, violence, destruction and provocations of IPOB in and against the people of Rivers State.”

He noted that as a stranger element with strange political ideology, IPOB has no legal or moral right to invade Rivers State or any part therefore at its behest; to disturb public peace, and subject lives and property to violence or threat of destruction under any guise.

He emphasised that Rivers State’s love, accommodation and hospitality towards all who reside in and do business in the state are being mistaken for weakness by the banned IPOB.  To this end, he warned that enough is enough as the government can no longer tolerate the menace of IPOB.

“I wish to appeal to the people of Oyigbo Local Government Area to remain calm and not to take the laws into their hands despite the intense provocation as government has the capacity to deal with the challenge and ensure the safety of lives and property in the Local Government Area. We will soon carry out on the spot inspection and assessment of the destruction they have suffered and taken appropriate measures to mitigate the loss and damage caused to lives and property,” he said.

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