Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike says the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) cannot give a sit-at-home order in Rivers State as the state is not part of Southeast.
The governor spoke on Monday evening while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ program monitored by Heritage Times.
Heritage Times had earlier reported that the order was given by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) demanding residents of the South-Eastern states to sit at home on Monday, May 31 witnessed widespread compliance in the South East and parts of the South-South, including Rivers State.
Speaking on the development, Wike said, “With all due respect, I have said it before and I will continue to say it: IPOB cannot make an order to say sit at home in Rivers State because it (IPOB) does not exist in Rivers State. Rivers State is South-South; we are in (the) Niger Delta.
“I am not saying whether the people of the South-East should obey IPOB or not but they cannot give order to Rivers people to sit at home. It is not possible.
“I am not against IPOB’s activities in the South-East; they have a right to whatever they are doing with their people but as far as Rivers State is concerned, you cannot give an order when we are not part of what you are doing. It does not work.”
Why IPOB considers Rivers State as a part of Biafra
Before the creation of states in 1967, Igbo was the dominant indigenous language in the Eastern Region out of which much of what now constitutes Rivers State was carved.
It was spoken mostly in Port Harcourt, Bonny, Opobo and in several major towns as well as villages. Under the then regional set-up, Opobo, Andoni and Nkoroo formed one division, with Opobo town as headquarters.
The language of the native court at Opobo which served the three communities was Igbo.
Also, IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had in 2017 revealed that was made an offer in detention to secede with the five Igbo states but that he rejected the offer because it did not constitute the complete territory of Biafra.
Addressing leaders of an Igbo civil society coalition who visited him at his country home in Umuahia, Abia State, Kanu Said: “They gave me Biafra in prison with only the five Igbo states; I said no, I want Benue and Rivers states inclusive.”
According to him, his passion to liberate all oppressed indigenous tribes in the old Eastern region made him to insist on not leaving them behind.
“I told them I must go with the other oppressed nationalities because I don’t want them to continue suffering subjugation,” he said.