Now, IPOB members have killed some soldiers, all of them have run away. The Army is investigating and fishing them out” –Oyigbo Chiefs
Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Chiefs have implored the Defence Headquarters not to withdraw soldiers deployed to restore peace in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State in order to prevent remnants of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), from regrouping.
In a press statement from the government house, Port Harcourt states that the chiefs under the aegis of Ogbakor Oyigbo, have also urged all those who deserted Oyigbo to return as normalcy has been restored.
The appeal to the military authorities was made when the Publisher of the Ovation International Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, visited Oyigbo, to assess the situation in the area ground.
A high chief, Eze Ukwu III, Louis Okorie, told Momodu and his delegation that the community chiefs do not approve the withdrawal of soldiers from Oyigbo.
He expressed serious concern that if soldiers are withdrawn from Oyigbo, IPOB anarchists would unleash violence in the area.
“The Ogbakor Oyigbo General held a meeting here yesterday and said they will not allow the removal of soldiers from Oyigbo. On the 12th of November, 2020 we met with the Local Government Chairman, Gerald Aforji, informing him of our plight. We don’t want the Army to be withdrawn for the benefit of the Oyigbo people. We need to be careful of the remnants of IPOB terrorists. We thank Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for imposing of curfew which has calmed down the situation in Oyigbo.”
In the same vein, High Chief, Lisbery Onyegorom, narrated that indigenes of Oyigbo were astounded by the wanton destruction unleashed on their community by members of the outlawed, IPOB.
“We were surprised by the level of destruction by the IPOB. We are Rivers State and Niger Delta people. Our people are not members of IPOB. I am not aware of any Oyigbo indigene who is a member. We don’t allow that.
“Now, that they have killed some soldiers, all of them have run away. The Army is investigating and fishing them out. Most of the IPOB members arrested have given vital information about the remnants.
“We are in support of the Governor’s ban on IPOB activities across Rivers State and hoisting of IPOB Flag.”
Onyegorom frowned at allegations of extrajudicial killings leveled against the Nigerian Army by some persons working for some extraneous forces playing petty politics with the Oyigbo issue.
“We are solidly behind our Governor’s effort to maintain peace in Oyigbo. The Governor did not say, go, and kill people. The Army came on a rescue mission. That’s what they came for. It is the deployment of the Army that gives us comfort to remain here. For now, we hear of the threat to protest again. The army is going nowhere. Let the Army stay until we are sure of peace in Oyigbo.”
“Those who ran away should come back. The Army is not chasing anybody. The army is not killing any person. Let the Army stay, until we are sure peace has returned.”
On his part, the Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Prince Gerald Oforji said most of the negative information peddled in the media on the situation in the area is unfounded.
“Today, I am very happy for the visit by the Ovation family to assess the wanton destruction carried out on the 20 October by the IPOB. Today, they have come to assess and see things for themselves based on lopsided information they have been getting concerning Oyigbo. I believe with what they have seen today, the world can confirm that most of the negative information posted against Oyigbo, against Rivers State, is unfounded.
Chief Dele Momodu said he was on an assessment cum sympathy visit to Oyigbo to see the level of wanton destruction perpetrated by IPOB.
Momodu was quoted in the statement as described as unfounded and untrue insinuation in some quarters that the military has been killing innocent persons in Oyigbo.
“The way they describe Oyigbo as if there is a massacre, there is no massacre going on. I have not seen any massacre. I believe, we have moved around extensively, nobody has told me not to move
anywhere. A lot of people have challenged me that I cannot come to Rivers and visit Oyigbo.
“So, I am here. For me, it is a mixture of sadness and joy. Joy, that being able to come here in peace because the impression I got was that nobody could come here at all; that everywhere has been taken over by the military, and people are been massacred. I have gone round. I went to the market, I have gone to the police headquarters that was allegedly burnt down.”
Momodu later inspected some State government projects which include: Umunju-Umueze, Umuroke- Umusu-Umuelechi-Umuokpurukpu-Umuagu-Umugwu-Umueke, and Umuoyoro Road. Others are Umuakrikpo Community Primary School, Umuoyoro Community Primary School, Community Primary School Umuobasi Ebert, and State School Obibi Umuogba.