* Places N50M Bounty On Leader Of Pro-Biafra Group

By Thelma Veracruze (Rivers State Correspondent)

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Friday, announced a N50m bounty on the head of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples Organization of Biafra (IPOB) in Rivers State, Mr Stanley Mgbere.

The governor also reinforced the earlier ban on IPOB by the federal government by further proscribing all activities of IPOB in Rivers State.

In a state wide broadcast by the governor, he said that the Rivers State Government took the decision to clampdown on the pro-Biafra body and it's activities having observed that the group's are inimical to the safety of members of the public, their properties and poses a veritable threat to the interest and aspirations of the people of Rivers State.

As a result of this development, however, the governor stated that the “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”.

Governor Wike announced that the Rivers State government has consequently declared the IPOB leader in the state, one Mr. Stanley Mgbere, wanted for allegedly leading members of the group to forment violent crisis and destruction of lives and property in Oyigbo Local Government Area. He therefore placed a ransom of N50,000,000.00 on his head, to be given to any person with useful information that would lead to his arrest and prosecution.

Wike stated that IPOB has carried out occasional public processions in many parts of Rivers state, especially in Oyigbo and some notorious suburbs in Portharcourt Local Government Areas, despite the fact that the group was earlier classified as a terrorist organisation by the Federal High Court and subsequently proscribed in September 2017 by the Federal Government.

He claimed that IPOB had been disturbing the peace of the State by unleashing violence and destruction on lives and property at will. According to him, the Rivers State Government had severally pleaded, warned and even advised IPOB and its members to discontinue its insurrectional actions in Rivers State 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.

The governor also accused IPOB of unleashing 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.

Wike said "Today, 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 it has appeared that Rivers State hospitable nature, love and accommodation towards all residents who do business in the state are being mistaken for weakness by the outlawed Biafran group. He therefore warned that enough is enough as the government can no longer tolerate what he described as the menace of IPOB.

“I wish to appeal to the people of Oyigbo Local Government Area to remain calm and not to take the laws into their hands despite the intense provocation as government has the capacity to deal with the challenge and ensure the safety of lives and property in the Local Government Area. We will soon carry out on the spot inspection and assessment of the destruction they have suffered and take appropriate measures to mitigate the loss and damage caused to lives and property”.

The governor however expressed his deep sympathies and that of the state to the families of those who lost their loved ones and suffered damages to their properties on account of IPOB activities in Rivers State. NNL.

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