(By Jackson Owhor) – The Daily Sun, is one of the newspapers that is read all over Nigeria and beyond by people who desire information and education about events in the society. Evidently, readers’ loyalty to the paper is based on the premise that information dished out by the medium are truthful and verifiable.
However, current realities are pointing to the fact that, all that glitters is not gold after all. The case in point is Casmir Igbokwe’s use of Daily Sun to deliberately dish out a false narrative about the hijack of ENDSARS protest in Rivers State by hoodlums, to unleash mayhem on government institutions, the citizens and their properties.
The hoodlums, suspected by the police to be members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, went as far as destroying and setting ablaze courts, police stations and other public and private properties in Oyigbo, and killing four policemen and six military personnel in the process.
In its reaction, the Rivers State Security Council, promptly declared a curfew to check further breakdown of law and order in Oyigbo. This action was in line with the Constitution, which puts on the shoulders of the Governor, the responsibility of protecting lives and property. May be, the likes of Casmir Igbokwe expected Governor Wike to fold his hands and watch the state burn. However, the curfew in Oyigbo was relaxed as soon as the security situation in the area improved.
It is important to emphasize that the military got involved in the imbroglio because of the killing of six soldiers by the hoodlums, who also went away with their rifles. Interestingly, the move to fish out the trouble makers and recover stolen weapons and other items has since paid off with the recovery of some items.
Since the unprovoked attack of IPOB on the peace loving people of Rivers State, Governor Wike has not failed to inform the public on all actions of the State Government to ensure protection of lives and properties in the state. Even when South East leaders, led by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State visited Rivers State on a fact finding mission on Sunday, November 8, Governor Wike told the delegation that he had nothing against the Igbos, and never ordered soldiers to kill people of Igbo extraction. Governor Wike added that there was no how he could be a party to the killing of Igbos in Rivers State when he had some of them as commissioners, personal aids and friends.
Governor Wike made his point clear at the meeting with South East leaders:
”I can never kill or fight Igbos. I will never kill Igbos. Why would I kill Igbos? How can people believe that I can send the same soldiers who were brought here to rig the election against me to go and kill Igbos. It is fake news. I have no control over the military.
“What happened was that Rivers State has been very peaceful and suddenly overnight, we woke up to hear that some people had killed six soldiers and four policemen. And to show you that the people who did these things are criminals, one of the Policemen killed was Igbo. So does that make sense?
“Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbos. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. We don’t have any problem with Ndigbo. Rivers state is a place that accommodates everybody and we must continue to accommodate everyone. But you have to obey rules. Don’t allow criminals to dictate to you.
“If I hate Igbos, I won’t appoint your son into my State cabinet. I have a two term Commissioner in my Executive Council from Igbo. He sits on the highest table in the State where he is aware of any key decision of the State. So Igbos are well represented in my government. What is being said is far from the truth,” he stated.
Ironically, while Governor Ezenwo Wike is working hard to provide a conducive atmosphere for people to live and do business in Rivers State, Casmir Igbokwe is using Daily Sun to magnify the false narratives of IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu, who is wanted by the federal authorities. It is shocking that Casmir Igbokwe is shouting to high heavens over targeted killings of Igbos in Rivers State based on dubious videos and propaganda being sponsored by IPOB on social media, while shutting his ears to credible information from the sitting Governor of Rivers State. The activities of Casmir Igbokwe is more worrisome because he is taking undue advantage of access to the media to misrepresent the situation of things in Rivers State. Our worry is that, the activities of the likes of Casmir Igbokwe, who, for parochial reasons have opted to use the Daily Sun to misinform the public, may sooner or later drag the name of the newspaper to the mud.
May be, he should go to Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and other South East leaders who visited Rivers State to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the rumour that was being promoted by IPOB, for some wise counsel.
Governor Umahi who remarked that all what they read in the social media were all lies, further had these to say:
“I find it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers States to hoist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people. Igbo leadership are opposed to this stance by IPOB.
“Let me tell you something. We Ndi-Igbos do not support any form of criminality so I urge you not to buy into anyone who is a criminal from our side. We feel so free with our host communities and have lived happily with them without any form of discrimination”, even as he warned Igbo’s to be wary of IPOB, because of their separatist agenda to instigate crises and a civil war in Nigeria.
It is thetefore important to iterate that, whereas Rivers State welcomes people from all parts of the world to visit, live and do business in any part of the state, it will not tolerate any outlawed group, and their activities. That is the position of the Government and people of Rivers State.