11th October, 2021
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has stated that members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are not as bad as terrorists or bandits in the North.
Ikpeazu while fielding questions during a recent interview with Vanguard, appealed to the Federal Government to engage and negotiate with IPOB members.
IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu is currently in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) after he was arrested in Kenya and extradited to Nigeria in June 2021, to face treason charges.
Ikpeazu said; “We must engage with IPOB. Yes, we must find a way to talk about the issues at stake. These people are not as bad as the ones in the Northeast or northwest who go to schools and seize the whole population of teachers and students or invade the mosques and churches and kidnap all the worshippers and nobody can find them until ransom is paid.
“I believe that there is some ideological sense in what these people in the Southeast are saying. There is something to listen to even though it is criminal to take up arms against the state. There is a message they are trying to pass in the process.
“We need confidence-building among ourselves rather than use words that we should not use even as leaders. Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder but the solution is not too difficult to find.”
“I regard Nnamdi Kanu as my citizen but not as leader of IPoB because I am the governor. I am prepared to engage to resolve the issue.”
“I care about his welfare and I care that he should be tried in a just and fair way. I am happy that they want to bring justice to bear by looking at the allegations against him and trying him fair and square but I would not want him to be treated as if he was a convict when he has not been convicted.
“Not until otherwise, he is still my citizen and as his father it behoves on us to care for him after all the prodigal son had a father.”