Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in a statewide broadcast, banned the activities of IPOB in the state citing the killing of security personnel.
Wike in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, also placed N50million bounty on one Stanley Mgbere said to be the leader of IPOB in the state.
He said: “Security agencies are hereby directed to stop any form of procession or agitation by IPOB in Rivers State or any part thereof and arrest and prosecute any person or group that identifies with the membership or activities of IPOB in the State.
“Government will issue an executive order to strengthen and ensure the effective enforcement of these measures.”
The governor promised to hold meetings with all leaders of youth groups and community development committees in the State on 26th October to take holistic measures to counter and stop all IPOB activities in the state;
“One Mr. Stanley Mgbere is hereby declared wanted for leading members of the banned IPOB to cause the recent violence and destruction of lives and property in Oyigbo Local Government Area; and a ransom of N50,000,000.00 will be given to any person with useful information that would lead to his arrest and prosecution,” he said.
He said the government severally pleaded, warned and even advised IPOB and its members to discontinue its insurrectional actions in Rivers to no avail.
“Instead, IPOB unleashed another orgy of violence and destruction inflicted at Oyigbo Local Government Area and some parts of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday 21st October 2020.
” This evil, wicked and audacious action resulted in the unnecessary loss of scores of lives, including soldiers and police officers, and the destruction of both public and private properties, including police stations, court buildings and business premises.
“Not done, members of the outlawed group also visited physical violence on members of some targeted community which, but, for the quick intervention of the State Government and the security agencies, would have resulted in some form of internecine bloodbath in the state.
“ IPOB continued with its devilish and destructive activities at Rumukwurushi, Iriebe and Oyigbo in open defiance of the State Government’s curfew on human movements.
“Security intelligence and surveillance have revealed that IPOB has continued to expand its membership drive, holding meetings regularly, and expanding its logistical base, including the maintenance of illegal detention cells in Emenike and other parts of Diobu, Port Harcourt.
“As a matter of fact, Oyigbo town has practically become the group’s main operational base in Rivers State, from which they’ve become notorious for launching premeditated violence and terror on the State, businesses and innocent citizens.
“As a people, we have become very much unsettled by the terrorist acts and endured the continuing irritations, violence, destruction and provocations of IPOB in and against the people of Rivers State.”
Wike said IPOB had no legal or moral right to invade Rivers State or any part at its behest to disturb public peace and subject lives and property to violence or threat of destruction under any guise.
He expressed his heartfelt sympathies to the families of all those that either lost their loved ones or suffered damage in the recent spate of violence in the state.