Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has justified his response to the clash between the personnel of the Nigerian Army and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), stating that it was borne out of his desire to protect the interest of all residents in the state, as well as all Igbos scattered around the country.
Recall that Ikpeazu had issued a curfew in the commercial city of Aba which was a major flashpoint in the clash, and had joined other governors of the South East to proscribe the activities of IPOB while also calling for the withdrawal of the army.
The Abia State governor made these comments while speaking in Abuja on Tuesday.
He stated that the Igbo population in states outside the South-East was higher than that of those based in Igboland.
Ikpeazu noted that the activities of IPOB put the lives of Igbos at risk, while the action of government had contributed to peace.
He said, “I want to announce that the population of Igbo 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. We are still working on stabilising and sustaining the fragile peace that we enjoy now.
“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.
“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 Igbo 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”.
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears
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