Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Monday, denied allegation that he ordered soldiers to kill Igbo people in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state, describing the claim as a politically motivated falsehood.
Wike, who spoke on a television programme on Monday in Port Harcourt, said a curfew was imposed on Oyigbo to restore calm after members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples Organisation of Biafra killed six soldiers, four policemen and destroyed all police stations and court buildings there.
He said the allegation that the Igbo were being killed by the military was intended to “shift attention from the despicable activities of IPOB in Oyigbo”, which is a boundary area adjoining Abia State.
He said, “I know that this is not the first time IPOB has used Oyigbo as launching ground. The security agencies are aware. IPOB added a new dimension this time.
“They killed six Army Officers and burnt one. They killed four police officers. They destroyed all the police stations and court buildings. What offence did we commit as a state?
“I imposed curfew to restore calm. I proscribed IPOB activities anywhere in the state. Don’t forget that the Federal Government had declared them a terrorist group. It is not the entire Igbo that believes in IPOB activities.
“So, it’s not true that I ordered the military to kill Igbo in Oyigbo. When did I become a friend to the military? So, what about the Igbo living elsewhere in the state? Are they also being killed?
“I have no relationship with the Army or the Police; I do not command them. They change Commissioner of Police every time. How would I begin to direct the Army that I do not give instruction?”
Wike lamented IPOB’s effrontery to rename a local government in the state and hoist its flag in a public school in Komkom Town.
He said, “I will not fold my arms and watch criminals destroy my state; if those few criminals are Igbo then they should know that I will not allow them.
“They made an attempt to rename a local government in my state. That alone is a signal. I will not agree to that; I know who is doing all these; who has told them to rise, protest against Wike.”
The governor added that the state government had no regret against its stance on IPOB, which he said, had already been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Federal Government.
According to him, even the South-East Governors have never supported IPOB and wondered why a Governor from the Niger Delta should tolerate the group.
He revealed that security agencies, during their search of some residents in Oyigbo, saw shrines with IPOB flags and Nnamdi Kanu’s photographs.
Wike maintained that if IPOB was allowed to operate from Oyigbo, they would soon overrun the state.
The governor said the government had commenced moves to replace all the property destroyed by the group during the protest, regretting that the damage had left huge financial burden on the state.
He added that the state had decided to compensate each family of the killed security personnel with N20m to cater to the welfare of the bereaved widows and their children.
He further said that the #EndSARS protests and its aftermath would have been averted if the Federal Government had not dismissed the alarm he earlier raised on the activities of SARS to mere politics.