Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said he would meet with the State Security Council on Tuesday to review the 24-curfew imposed in Oyigbo Local Government Area in the wake of disturbances that followed the #ENDSARS protests.
This followed calls on the governor to review the curfew, which has caused untold hardship on residents of the local government area, particularly Oyigbo town, where soldiers and policemen have strictly enforced the curfew and conducted house-to-house search for arms raided from the police stations and soldiers killed during the disturbances.
The governor, who spoke on a live AIT programme anchored in Port Harcourt, also said the Secretary to the State Government would deliver the sum of N200 million to families of the four policemen and six soldiers killed by people suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in Oyigbo during the disturbances.
He said it was sad that the N200 million and the money that will be spent on rebuilding properties destroyed by IPOB members would have been used to fund development projects. Suspected IPOB members had killed four policemen and six soldiers in the disturbances that followed the #ENDSARS protests in Oyigbo. This led to the declaration of a 24-hour curfew on the area by the governor, who reinforced the outlawing of IPOB in the state.
Wike disclosed that Stanley Mgbere, the young man that he placed a bounty of N50 million on for allegedly leading the party that burned a hotel owned by a traditional ruler at Onne in Eleme Local Government Area had surrendered himself to the authorities. The surrender, according to him, would save him the N50 million ransom he pledged for the arrest of Mgbere.
The governor dismissed charges that the lockdown of Oyigbo was a clampdown on the Igbo living in Oyigbo. He said IPOB is an unlawful organization that was using Oyigbo as a launch pad for its terrorist activities, which he as a sitting governor would not accept.
“We have been staying hungry, drinking water and the little thing that we planted around if there is any; that is the one that is not stolen by people. There is no food. They are harvesting bananas and plantains that are not mature to eat because of hunger,” said one resident.
“I was very sick and on drugs. The drug finished and could not get another one. There are other people that are in similar situation,” said another resident.
There are also complaints that security agents have been killing or attacking innocent residents of the area since the curfew was imposed.
One woman, Mrs. Amara Igwe, said her husband, a pastor was shot dead by soldiers on Thursday evening.
Major Charles Ekeocha, the spokesman of the 6 Division, Port Harcourt said the operation in Oyigbo was not targeted at innocent persons but criminals who killed soldiers and went away with their weapons. “If we don’t retrieve these weapons now, the same weapons will be used against innocent citizens of that area or any other part of the country,” Ekeocha said.