The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has described the allegation that he ordered the army to kill Igbo people in Oyigbo as a “politically-motivated falsehood.”
The governor also lamented IPOB’s effrontery to rename a local government in the state and hoist its flag in a public school in Komkom town.
According to him, even the South-East governors had never supported the group and wondered why a governor from the Niger-Delta should tolerate it.
He revealed that security agencies, during a search of some residents in Oyigbo, saw shrines with IPOB flags and Nnamdi Kanu’s photographs.
Wike maintained that if IPOB was allowed to operate from Oyigbo, they would soon overrun the state.
Community accuses security team of harassment
Meanwhile, some residents of Oyigbo in Rivers State and the joint security team deployed to maintain peace in the area are on a collision course over claims of harassment in the community.
The joint security operation, comprising the military and the police, started when the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, imposed a 24-hour curfew on Oyigbo and reinforced the ban on the activities of members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra.
Residents, however, accused the security operatives of breaking into people’s homes and shooting indiscriminately, among others.
Some residents, who called a radio station, 92.3 Nigeria Info, in Port Harcourt on Monday, said youths were prime targets.
A man said, “The soldiers are breaking into peoples’ houses and harassing anyone they see along the road, especially if the person is a youth.
“Yesterday (Sunday) a man was hit by a stray bullet near Timber area where I live. The man has died now.”
Some also said they were unable to access food and other basic items.
Another female resident said, “Some people have been cutting peoples’ bananas and plantain that have not yet mature to eat because of hunger. From my house, I trekked to the main road so that I can join a keke (tricycle) to my church, but I could not because there was nobody on the road.”
A woman, who said she was unable to access medical care, called for a review of the 24-hour curfew.
“I have been sick for more than one month and I was on medication. It is a routine drug, so the drug finished the day before yesterday. I couldn’t get another one because there is no way for me to go out,” she stated.
However, the spokesman for the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major Charles Ekeocha, and his counterpart in the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni, denied reports of killings and harassment.
Ekeocha said, “I am not aware of any killing. We are there to retrieve rifles in the hands of the criminal elements. Six of our men were killed and their rifles taken. If we leave those rifles in their hands, they will use them against people in the community, the state and the country. So, we must get those rifles back.”
Also, Omoni said, “There is no extrajudicial killing in Oyigbo. The security agencies here are going after the hoodlums. There is peace here and nobody is shooting. I came here for on-the-spot assessment and the place is calm.”
Police recover looted items
The police in Rivers State said it had begun recovering items looted during the attack on police stations in the Oyigbo.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, on Monday said some of the personal effects looted from the Oyigbo Divisional Police Station had been recovered.
He also said some suspects, who confessed to killing police officers, had been arrested.