Chairman of Southeast Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Dave Nweze Umahi, has reminded Igbo resident in Rivers State that their sojourn outside the Southeast is to make a living for themselves and not to cause trouble for their host communities.
Governor Umahi, who made the assertion while addressing the Igbo community in Rivers State, disclosed that the Igbo leaders decided on a fact-finding visit following social media reports of killings in Obigbo area of the state.
The Ebonyi State governor regretted that the utterances and activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitators have become a source of distraction and nuisance, stressing that it was the height of impudence for the agitators to raise their flags in non-Igbo states of Benue and Rivers.
While announcing his intention to tour Lagos, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory, Umahi said the visits were aimed at preaching tolerance and harmonious co-existence among Igbo and their hosts in those areas.
“I urged all of you living in this state to respect the government and people of Rivers State, because Ndigbo cannot support any form of criminality,” he said.
Also, in his contribution, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said the meeting has reinforced the existing affinity between Igbo and the people of Niger Delta, stressing that the leadership of Igbo cannot remain aloof while some misguided few that did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the embers of disunity.
Other members of the delegation included Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State); Dr. Nkem Okeke (Deputy Governor, Anambra State); Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Mrs. Josephine Anini, representing the Igbo women leaders.
In a remark during a meeting with the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, Umahi told the Rivers State chief executive that, “We are here to interact with you. We saw a number of things in the social media about Igbo in Obigbo, and as leaders, we put heads together and requested to meet with you.
“The first thing we did was to ask our people, the Ndigbo in Rivers State, are the things we are seeing in the social media true?”
Earlier, the spokesperson and Eze Ndigbo in Rivers and Bayelsa, Eze Maduagu Ajaele and Lady Regina Uwakwe, disclosed that Nd’Igbo have been living peacefully in the state, saying that Governor Wike has always carried the Igbo along.
She said: “Under the administration of Governor Wike, the Igbo have thrived in the state. Also, the Igbo have contributed to the development of the state in many ways. The Igbo and other people own most edifices in Port Harcourt. Wike has made an Igboman, Hon. Emeka Onowu, a Commissioner for two times now.
“We therefore plead with our leaders, who have come to know the truth, to please advise our people, our Igbo brothers and sisters here in Rivers State to be careful and not to be involved in anything that will constitute an abuse to the hospitality of the host communities.”
Governor Wike told the visitors that it was not possible for anybody to give Igbo people a bad name, insisting that there cannot be Nigeria without the Igbo and their entrepreneurial abilities. “We don’t have any problem with Ndigbo. Rivers State is a place that accommodates everybody and we must continue to accommodate everyone. I cannot kill Igbo; if you kill Igbo, you kill Nigeria,” he said.
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