Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Igbo people living in Rivers State have been urged to respect and honour the government and people of their host state.
Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, gave the charge at the weekend when he led other governors, President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and other leaders from the zone to meet with Governor Nyesom Wike over the Oyigbo saga.
Umahi said they were in Rivers State to find out what truly transpired at Oyigbo during the EndSARS protest and to ensure amicable resolution of every dispute in the area.
He urged Igbo in Oyigbo to desist from actions that abuses the hospitality and accommodating spirit of the people of Rivers State.
“We are here to interact with you. We saw a number of things in the social media about Igbo in Oyigbo, and as leaders, we put heads together and requested to meet with Governor Wike.
“The first thing we want to do is to ask our people, the Ndigbo in Rivers State, are the things we are seeing in the social media true, we will want you to address us.”
Also speaking, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, stated that the meeting reinforced the existing affinity between Igbo and the people of Niger Delta.
He explained that Igbo leaders would not keep quiet while some misguided individuals whom he said did not experience the brutal realities of the civil war drag the region into another war.
Nwodo urged Igbo in the state to respect their host communities and abide by the laws of the state, assuring them that the government of Rivers State would always provide a conducive atmosphere for their businesses to thrive.
Eze Ndigbo in Rivers State, Eze Maduagu, who spoke on behalf of Ndigbo living in the state, noted that Igbo had been living peacefully in the state before the unfornate incident, adding that Governor Wike had always treated them with love and accommodation.
“Under the administration of Governor Wike, Igbo have thrived in the state. Also, the Igbo have contributed to the development of the state in many ways. Most edifices in Port Harcourt are owned by the Igbo and other people.
“Wike has made an Igboman, 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 community,” Maduagu said.
Governor Wike in his remarks acknowledged the wonderful contributions of Ndigbo in the development of Rivers State, saying “nobody should give Igbo people a bad name.”
“There cannot be Nigeria without Igbo, they are enterprenuers. 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.”