Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

Ikpeazu of Abia, Northern Counterparts Assure of Safety

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Abuja –  Abia Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, on Tuesday assured Nigerians that the crisis created by the face-off between security operatives and IPOB in his state was over and assured everyone of safety of lives and property.

The Governor gave the assurance while speaking with State House Correspondents after he briefed the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbbajo, about the crisis in some parts of Abia.

He said that he is in close consultations with the Northern governors who have given assurances of the safety of lives of those residing in their states.

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“We are in very close consultations and relationship with our brothers from Northern Nigeria, the governors.

“And they have assured that every part of Nigeria is safe for every Nigerian including Igbos, to continue in their business and their enterprise.

“And I want to announce that the population of Igbos outside the Igbo enclave is about 11.6 million; you don’t play with the lives of 11.6 million people.

“We all have to be careful, the press, the leadership at the state level and at the federal level, everybody.

“I think that we should be guided by rule of law and grow confidence in the Nigerian citizen that under our laws that he (one) is protected everywhere.’’

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The governor acknowledged that Nigerians knew that in the past one week the group called IPOB “has been agitating for a separate nation called Biafra and the homestead of the leader of that group happened to be Abia state”.

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He said that as expected, when such things happens there was an interface between some members of that group and the military and the theatre was Abia state, adding that the situation was exploited by some people to cause disharmony.

“We are still working on stabilizing and sustaining the fragile peace that we enjoy now.

“But I thank God that he found us worthy instruments with which to continue to keep our country on and we were humbled by the privileges.”

Ikpeazu stated that he had assured some five Northern governors who visited the state of the safety of lives of everybody resident in Abia, whether they were Abia people or not.

“I swore with the Bible to protect lives and property; because I take such oath very seriously, I will continue to protect the lives and property of our brothers and sisters irrespective of where they come from.

“Especially, the main stay of our economy in Abia is trade and commerce and I do not think it will augur well for our economy if we make our kitchen the theater of fracas.

“Native wisdom in my place says that you should not allow fight to ensue from your mother’s kitchen.

“And it is my responsibility also to grow prosperity in my state and that would have led to negative growth,’’ the governor said.

On the call for the dethronement of Kanu’s father from the traditional stool, the governor said he clearly separated Kanu from his father noting that the processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws of the land.

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“The traditional rulers who are members of his immediate constituency have leadership. They will do the needful at the appropriate time.

“But for me I think there is a clear division between Nnamdi Kanu and his father,’’ he emphasised.

Ikpeazu declined to link the agitation to the alleged failure of leadership in the South East, saying that allegations were supposed to be treated by investigative officers which he was not trying to investigate.

The governor advised that leaders as perception builders should try to say things that were good about the country not things that were bad.

“There are enough reasons to see that under our circumstance, we may not be in El-dorado yet but there are concerted efforts and attempts to make our place a better place.

“I do not see how, as an Igbo man, boxing myself into a smaller geographic entity will help the cause of the most widely travelled people in Nigeria.

“There are Igbos in Sambisa (Forest); what are you expecting of them if I narrow their geography of coverage.

“But agitation, marginalisation and infrastructure deficiencies, these are issues which are germane and they can be discussed, spoken about and addressed.

“But I do not know how in the 21st century taking up arms in my kitchen will grow the prosperity of my people.’’ (NAN)

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